McDowell set to build on 2017 T12 MVP performance
Young star has recovered from first major injury
After months of preparation at the Okotoks Dawgs Academy, Micah McDowell is ready to go for this year's T12.
The 2017 MVP has put in a lot of work in the past year to ensure he's in tip-top shape when he takes the field at Rogers Centre again.
"I'm looking forward to showcasing my talents, I got a lot bigger and stronger over the offseason, and a lot faster as well," McDowell said.
A lot has changed for the 17-year-old since he last played at T12.
McDowell is coming off his first major injury in May, when he tore his UCL and his thumb while sliding into second base. It was a life lesson for him in how quickly things can turn and go the other way, he said.
"I got caught on the base kind of thing, and I just kept going. My thumb got caught and it just tore the ligament," he said.
He had surgery soon after. Getting through the injury was tough, he said, but there was also a positive that came out of it.
"Mentally it definitely drained a lot out of me watching the game, but also watching the game from the stands and watching my team play I learned a lot," he said.
In late August, McDowell said that he was almost at 100 percent, and by the start of the tournament on Thursday, he said that he would be there.
During his time playing at the academy over the winter, he did a 12-week metabolic circuit that helped him improve offensively.
"It's probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," McDowell said.
"It definitely helped a lot with my power and being able to drive the ball in the gap and over the fence."
He also worked on a throwing program at the academy and gained a couple of miles per hour on his fastball, which will help with his throws from the outfield and across the diamond at shortstop, he said.
Off the field, the 17-year-old got accustomed to living on his own since his last T12 appearance. He made and packed his own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to bring for lunch with him during long days out of the house.
"Sometimes I'll be out from whenever school ends at like 3:30 p.m. until sometimes 8 p.m. just working hard," he said.
It wasn't long ago that McDowell wasn't sure what direction his life would take. The then 12-year-old was involved in football and basketball, which he also had a talent for. However, after the East Coaster made Team Nova Scotia and travelled to Ontario to play, he made the decision to focus on baseball.,
"It was a tough decision, but it definitely paid off, because I got the opportunity to come to the Dawgs Academy," he said.
This year at the tournament, he said he doesn't feel like there's as much stress. McDowell has already appeared at T12, and he's put in a lot of work since his last appearance at the Rogers Centre.
"After this year, I feel like there's not as much pressure as the game has just gotten a whole lot easier," he said.
McDowell already has his sights set on what he wants to accomplish next with the sport.
"Definitely Team Canada, as well as attracting MLB scouts," he said.
"Just being 10 times better than I was last year," he said.