East Bend — Sieden Howell had to take a seat at the end of the State Building Owl, who made a 10-7 decision to the Carolina Disco Turkeys at Four Bush High School last Saturday night.
And for good reason, 2020 East Wilkes graduates just caught nine innings of a summer baseball game in the North Carolina Textile League.
The game was the first of four ball games that the Disco Turkeys will play on the Falcon ballfield this summer. They faced Morrisville crickets on Sunday afternoon. Howell and Owl will return to Forbush this Saturday to play against the Disco Turkeys, and Carolina will return to East Bend on July 1st.
For Howell, the opportunity to play just below Highway 421 from Wilkes County was a great opportunity for fans who have followed his athletic career.
Howell, along with the Cardinals, was three athletes: soccer, basketball, and of course baseball.
“That’s the good thing about summer balls, it’s a more free range,” Howell said. “I can be near my house and my parents and friends can come and see, and in fact it’s a more fun, relaxing and cold situation with everyone.”
Howell made an interesting start to his college playing career after finishing his preparatory career.
Prior to graduating from East Wilkes, Howell signed to play at the University of St Andrews, a NAIA school in Laurinburg in the Sandhills region of North Carolina.
After a short stint there in the fall, Howell decided to enroll in Hickory’s Katauba Valley Community College, where he reunited with former Cardinal teammate Tray Lambert.
Academically, Howell had a great year at the Red Hawks as he was selected for the College Dean List for the Spring Semester 2021. He has also been nominated for the Region10 All-Academic team.
But on the field, Howell saw the action in just seven games. He hit .167 with two RBIs and only three RBIs in the Katova Valley at 41-13 that season.
After that season, Howell chose to leave CVCC and enrolled in Rockingham Community College in Wentworth. There he was successful in Eagles both in the classroom and in the field.
Howell was selected on the school president’s list outside the stadium for earning at least 12 hours of college-level credits in the spring semester and maintaining an average grade of 4.00.
On the field, he was the first team of 10 in all regions of Rockingham after hitting .441 with two home runs and 19 RBIs. He also had a .600 slugging percentage and a .517 on-base percentage.
According to Howell, the goal was to have a great year playing at the NCAA Division I level and hoping to get the chance to go from there.
But when the offer wasn’t what he wanted, a freshman in a red shirt decided to take advantage of the COVID year to play for the Eagles for another year.
“I went to (Rockingham) last year, but I didn’t really plan to stay. I received an offer (to play in a four-year school) and hoped to take it to the next level. I was there, “Howell said. “But after a year, I didn’t get the offer that I felt was right for me, so I felt it was best to go back and improve myself and try to reach the highest level I could reach.”
Howell, who became hitless (but reached the base twice) on Saturday night, didn’t get the exact start he wanted, but it turned around and what a good summer was for him. I’m optimistic if I know what I can do.
He also has some high goals for the next season in Rockingham. It aims to build a 15-24 campaign last spring.
Prior to this past season, the Eagles had won the Region 10 Championship for the third consecutive division in Division III (excluding 2020) and participated in the NJCAAD III World Series three times in a row.
“It was a good season for me. I try not to get too hot like this spring, but I’ll be back again,” Howell said. “I want to be a good competitor all summer. I’m always competing and there are a lot of changes in competition from this spring to this summer so I just want to get through the ball and hit the off-gap. I think.
“My main goal (next spring) is to win the Division 1 offer in the fall, preferably before the start of the season in the spring,” Howell added. “I want to be the First Team All Regions, Region 10 Years Best Player, First Team (NJCAA) All Americans again and run the World Series.”
Owls are now 3-2 overall after winning 16-3 on Monday night.