Matt Riley has been one of the main drawing cards for the Bowie Baysox this summer. However, many people have forgotten that Bowie has another star pitcher -- Josh Towers.
Just beyond the spotlight shining on Riley, Towers quietly has posted solid numbers throughout the season, showing why he's also a legitimate prospect. Towers (11-6) took his first loss since June 27 on Monday night.
Towers has nearly impeccable control, walking only 22 batters while striking out 94 in 172 innings. He has a 3.92 earned run average and had won five straight decisions before the loss Monday.
But he has tied a club record by allowing 25 homers and has set a Baysox record for hits allowed in a season.
Many control pitchers will allow more homers because they always pitch around the plate. Towers has gotten better this season at putting his pitches in the right spots.
"That's one of his assets is his control," Bowie pitching coach Dave Schmidt said. "His command in the strike zone has gotten better as the year progressed."
Towers gave up a two-run homer Monday that was the deciding hit in a 3-2 loss to Portland. However, he was doing what he always does -- coming at the hitters with his best stuff.
"I just go right at them," Towers said. "I like to go after them, and I just challenge batters."
Curiously, Towers is 3-5 in games in which he doesn't walk anyone -- but 8-1 in games in which he does. That statistic puzzled both Towers and Schmidt. However, Schmidt said there's no question how much Towers has improved this season.
"He's become more of a complete pitcher," Schmidt said.
Numbers are Good
The Potomac Cannons have not had a memorable year, but several of their players have posted some big numbers.
Potomac's hitting has been weak; the Cannons were last in the league with a .244 average after Wednesday's games.
But hitting has not been a problem for Andy Blevins. He led the Class A Carolina League with 90 RBI through Wednesday's games and was tied for third in the league with 22 homers.
In addition, he was third with 86 runs scored and fifth in hits (131) and tied for fifth in extra-base hits (51).
Bill Ortega continued his strong hitting and ranked second in the Carolina League with a .306 average. Esix Snead was fourth in stolen bases with 35.
Jason Marr has been the lone pitching standout for the Cannons, ranking second in saves with 19.
Coffie is Key
As the Frederick Keys have put themselves into prime position for a run at the Carolina League playoffs, third baseman Ivanon Coffie has been leading the way.
Last week, the left-handed hitting Coffie batted .462 (12 for 26), with three doubles, a triple and two home runs to earn the league's player of the week honor. He also drove in 10 runs, with an on-base percentage of .517 and slugging percentage of .885 during the six-game span.
Coffie has hit at a nearly .300 clip since being demoted from Class AA Bowie in mid-June. Coffie hit well at times with Bowie, but fell into a long slump and was sent back to Frederick.
The 22-year-old, who resides in Curacao, was signed by the Orioles as an undrafted free agent in 1995. Last year with the Keys, he batted .256 with 19 doubles and 16 homers.
The Keys, who were rained out last night, have won 10 of 15 to move within two games of first-place Wilmington in the Northern Division.
Special correspondent Rich Scherr contributed to this report.