Jun. 22—MARION — The 2022 baseball season yielded very different returns for a pair of Madison County's most talented juniors. For Frankton's Bradyn Douglas it was an explosive offensive campaign as he continues to fulfill his promise, but Pendleton Heights pitcher Ricky Howell suffered a foot injury prior to the year that derailed a promising season.
As both participated Wednesday in the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association futures showcase at Indiana Wesleyan University, both are on the same track now as they begin a summer designed to get their skills in front of as many eyes as possible.
Douglas drew walks in both plate appearances Wednesday. He attempted to steal second both times and was successful once. He also handled multiple defensive opportunities in the outfield.
Douglas was selected after a junior season during which he hit .474 to lead the Eagles with 10 doubles, four triples, 22 RBI, 28 stolen bases and 29 runs scored. He had a solid sophomore year as well but elevated his game sharply as a junior for the 17-10-1 Eagles.
"I felt that I had to be a leader this year because we had a young team," he said. "It was nice to be able to lead the team, and that was going to be my main role. Sophomore year I had a good year, but I kind of upped it this year."
Both players emerged as sophomores after their freshman seasons were casualties of COVID-19. For Howell that included a complete game no-hitter in a 5-0 win over Yorktown. He finished that year with a 4-3 record and a 2.22 ERA. In 14 appearances for the Arabians, he struck out 64 batters in 63 innings.
But Howell broke the cuneiform bone in his foot in three places prior to the season this year, and as a result he only made two pitching appearances late in the year covering four innings. He did play 16 games total and hit .273, but he is just now back to 100% and ready to show off his 91 mph velocity to the college scouts. He has already garnered the attention of several Division I schools.
"My foot is right and it's all the way healed," he said. "I'm just worried about getting my arm back right. I'm getting back up to my (velocity), and I'm just trying to get bigger, stronger and all the way back."
In his inning on the mound, Howell fanned the first two batters he faced before allowing an infield single. A foul pop out ended his scoreless inning.
Neither player has committed beyond high school yet, but both are hoping to gain interest this summer through travel ball and showcases like the futures event.
"This gets me some college looks and hopefully start figuring out where I can go after high school," Douglas said.
"This summer, I'm trying to get my name out there," Howell said. "I know high school hasn't gone how I wanted it to, but this summer is bounce back stuff for me."
Douglas had another goal for the day as well.
"I'm putting my little school on the map," he said. "None of these guys have heard of my school. (They say) 'Franklin?' No, Frankton."
Saturday, the North-South All-Star games will be played on the same field, with Lapel senior and University of Indianapolis commit Brock Harper set to pitch for the South team.
Contact Rob Hunt at
email@example.com or 765-640-4886.