McDowell becomes triple threat


Baseball player, outdoorsman and “Top 20 senior,” Tyler McDowell, plans to attend Washington State University next year to play Cougar Baseball.

Looking toward the future of his baseball career, McDowell was presented with plenty of options in the recruitment process.

“There was one tournament that I went to that was Northwest Championships and it was just the best kids from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and we all went to this big tournament and had all of these scouts following every game that we went to,”

McDowell said. “So I was being recruited by UW, Washington State, Oregon and they were all wanting me to visit them so I visited a couple of them. I really liked WSU because of all of the community there and it is not out of the way like how some colleges are spread out, this one is compact and it felt like home over there.”

But McDowell’s road to success had started long before the recent scouting season; with an orange bat, a tee and some Wiffle balls.

“When I was little my dad got me one of those big ol’ orange bats, so I had one of those and he had this tee thing that was like a toy for kids where you would press this button and the ball would pop up and you would hit it. So I would just stand in the yard nailing those little Wiffle balls. Then I went to tee-ball then moved up to coach-pitch and then kid-pitch and then the bases would get further, the mound would get further, competition got harder,” McDowell said. “And then I got into tournament teams, so instead of playing in a league we would go around to tournaments and try to get first place in all of those; we would go to Oregon, California, in-state tournaments and we would just try to play the best of the best so we would all get better.”

Besides inspiring a love for baseball in McDowell at a young age, McDowell’s dad also recognized McDowell’s talent and pushed him beyond the confines of his age bracket.

“My dad noticed that I was more advanced then some of the other kids so instead of playing in a set U-team – because there are set age U-teams like if you are 10 you play 10-U or if you are 18 you play 18-U – but I was like 16 playing 18-U,” McDowell said. “So that was really scary for me because all these guys were huge and jacked and I was just a little scrawny tall kid playing first.”

The various talents McDowell developed in this early career have led WSU to select him not for one position but three.

“On the Mariner’s scout team that I played on this summer, we were told that everyone would have set positions sometime; you are either a pitcher or you are a fielder that can hit and he told us that you have to pick and I am still not there because WSU picked me for pitching, first-base and outfield so I still do not know what I am yet. So I will be playing three positions hopefully over there,” McDowell said.

In addition to playing baseball, McDowell pursues scholastic success in his classes. Balancing these two disciplines has forced McDowell to make some sacrifices.

“Getting time to do my work and studying while playing baseball and working out and all of these other sports are really the tough part because I have to prioritize on what I study. So if I know that I have a math test and I am already good at math but I have an essay due in English then I will probably do the essay because I already know the math,” McDowell said. “So it is prioritizing definitely and trying not to watch so much TV. And for me at least, in being a student athlete, it is really tough to socialize, so I kind of have to give that part up to work on school and baseball.”

School and baseball however, are not McDowell’s only hobbies. According to McDowell, his interests range everywhere from chick flicks to hunting trips.

“So I played three sports during my high school career: baseball, basketball and golf. I love fishing with my grandma and just fishing in general. I fly fish, I tie my own flies; Darrien [Clemens] and I have tied our flies now for like a couple months, we are starting to get into that old man kind of thing, just making our own stuff, trying to catch fish. So I do that, I ride dirt bikes, I bike, I hike. I grew up with an older sister and she had control of the TV so, I am not going to lie, I kind of like chick flicks but I watch all types of movies,” McDowell said. “Back in junior high, Hyeon Jin [Kim] and I would have Rubix cube competitions, seeing how fast we could go during our fourth period, so I can solve the Rubix cube because of him. Hyeon is so fast and now I am at like five minutes; super slow. I also hunt; I hunt for pheasant, quail, bird stuff with shotguns, I do not really deer hunt. I trap shoot, I shoot bows, I am basically just all outdoors; I hate sitting inside.”

In addition to his varied talents, McDowell has earned a variety of nicknames. One such nickname is “the missile,” a name given to him during a PHS baseball game.

“I have too many names from this baseball team already. So we were playing in SafeCo and I do not know what the score was but it was bases loaded, we had one out, Tyler Freeze was on third and I did not know who he was or how fast he was but apparently all of the guys said he was one of the fastest kids and he had the most stolen bases. So I was playing right field and this kid hit a pop-up to me so I caught it for the second out and Tyler Freeze was tagging up on me on third so I threw it as hard as I could to Brendan and it was just a rocket or a ‘missile’ is what they call it, I threw it to home and I got him out by like 10 feet, like it was stupid,” McDowell said. “So they had that as the play of the day on King 5 with Chris Egan so I got to be on TV with all of the baseball guys and Levi [Jordan] was announced on that too for his hit to get two runs in to take the lead and then I got the play of the day with that. After that they just started calling me ‘the missile’ and every time I throw it from the outfield they are like, ‘Incoming!’”