In a year where pitchers seemingly dominated the Pioneer Athletic Conference baseball scene, Methacton's Kyle Lowery kept turning out smash hit after smash hit.
A senior third baseman, Lowery finished with a .453 batting average, a team-high 30 RBI and an impressive 1.018 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) for the Warriors.
More importantly, he delivered in the clutch time and time again to help Methacton (22-7) enjoy its most successful season in program history — one highlighted by the Warriors' first PAC-10 and District 1-AAAA championships and a trip to the PIAA quarterfinals.
For his accomplishments, Lowery — a righty-swinging cleanup man — has been named All-Area Player of the Year.
"I mean, it's a dream to have a season like this,' the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Lowery said. "Just having that confidence and thinking you're better than the pitcher, and truly believing he can't get you out while having your teammates there cheering you on is a great feeling. Having fun up there is important.'
Lowery and his teammates had a lot of fun this year, from the time they got things underway with an 11-7 victory over Pope John Paul II (the eventual PIAA-AAA champion) in which Lowery went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs.
"Kyle was a great leader for us this season as one of our captains,' Methacton coach Paul Spiewak said. "This was his fourth year of varsity experience, so he understands what it takes to be successful, both individually and team-wise. His personality helped him become the leader of our program this year. He is one of the most popular kids in our entire school, and our team hung on every word he said.
"He stands for the right things and leads by example by working hard in the weight room, at practice, and during our games. He takes care of business in the classroom and I can't say how many teachers have stopped me in the hallway to tell me what a great kid our third baseman is.'
Lowery's education of the diamond came at an early age. His father, Ed, was an infielder in the Philadelphia Phillies' organization.
"I definitely come from a baseball family,' said Lowery, whose older brothers Eddie and Brad were also athletes at Methacton. "As soon as I could pick up a bat, I was playing.
"I'd always hear stories, and have people coming up to me saying how good of a ballplayer my dad was — and how he just had a different mindset than everyone else and had a winning mentality.'
Suffice it to say Kyle Lowery inherited those traits.
A quarterback/receiver/safety, he helped the Warriors to a 7-4 mark last fall, and will continue his gridiron career at Widener University, where he plans to major in criminal justice and will also attempt to play baseball.
A reserve during his freshman baseball year, Lowery split time as a starter his sophomore season before being a mainstay in Methacton's dangerous lineup over the past two years.
This spring, he was a rock of consistency in a batting order that wreaked plenty of havoc upon opposing PAC-10 pitchers.
"Kyle was our best hitter this season, and along with (James) Bleming from Pope John Paul II, was the best offensive player the PAC-10 had to offer, in my opinion,' Spiewak said. "Oftentimes the best hitter in the lineup is kept from getting big hits due to getting pitched around, but somehow Kyle seemed to be the one who always ended up with the big playoff hit that kept our team moving on in the district and state playoffs.'
Lowery definitely made his presence felt during the memorable postseason run.
After missing a PAC-10 semifinal victory over Boyertown due to a strained back muscle suffered the final week of the regular season, Lowery returned in time for the league championship against Pope John Paul II. He wound up getting hit by a pitch to kick-start the decisive seventh inning, scored the lone run in a 1-0 victory and somewhat fittingly got the assist on the final out, a tricky grounder he knocked down with his chest.
Lowery enjoyed his most potent offensive outburst the following game, going 4-for-4 with a homer, double and four RBI in a 10-3 victory over Penncrest in the first round of the District 1-AAAA tourney.
A week later, he delivered perhaps the most important hit of the season, ripping the go-ahead RBI double in a three-run fifth inning as the Warriors topped league foe Boyertown 7-3 in the district final.
With leadoff man Kyle Feaster, Austin Bregman and Glenn Seymour setting the table in front of him and five-hole hitter T.J. Tornetta providing protection behind him, Lowery got to see his share of good pitches — and didn't disappoint too often.
"I just tried to contribute any way I possibly could,' Lowery said. "My teammates would get on, and I just tried my best to score them. And when I'd get on, my teammates would score me.
"I'm definitely an aggressive hitter. If I see a pitch I think I can hit, I'll definitely take a swing at it. But if I get that first-pitch curve or anything low and away, I'll take that pitch and wait for the pitcher to make a mistake. If he doesn't, I'll do the best I can to battle him.'
Lost somewhat in the season-long hit parade was Lowery's glovework at the hot corner — where he was one cool customer.
"Defensively, he was a shortstop talent playing third base for us,' Spiewak said. "In this league, if you don't defend the bunt and play good defense, your chances of success are minimized exponentially. We came into the last two seasons with that in mind, and Kyle became one of our top defensive players. With a strong arm and great glove, he was perfect for us and provided just what we needed from the position.'
Lowery was also a popular leader and respected presence in the dugout on a veteran-filled squad that included no fewer than 11 seniors.
"This group of guys was special,' Lowery said. "It was the best environment I've ever been on as a baseball team. Winning the PAC-10 was a huge moment, winning the district championship was something we'll never forget and going to states was a great accomplishment.'
All of which were made possible thanks in no small part to the accomplishments and positive attitude of Lowery.
"Our team's attitude, work ethic, drive for success and ability to have fun while doing the right things were all a reflection of their leadership from Kyle,' Spiewak said. "They mimicked Kyle and Glenn Seymour and really represented our program at the highest level on and off the field. He will be impossible to replace in every area, and sorely missed by his teammates and coaches.'
While being remembered fondly as the guy who wielded the most productive bat in a heavy metal lineup that churned out a season's worth of hit performances.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.