By MARK BURKE
LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a continuation of a series of local players and coaches who were selected to participate in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association all-star activities.)
Playing in Tuesday night's all-star game is just what Mayflower's Shane Fowler needs as he prepares to make the jump to college baseball.
Fowler, who will be playing at Central Baptist College next season, got a taste of what competing against the best was like, taking part in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-star activities this week. In a game played at Baum Stadium on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Fowler was among the top seniors in the state.
That's something Fowler is using as a step toward the future.
"Playing with that caliber of players is good because that's what I'm going to see," Fowler said. "I see this as a chance to turn the page and take a step forward and move up."
But he still savored the joy that came with the experience, even if there was a little bit of nervousness.
"It's an amazing feeling getting to play with the caliber of players up here," Fowler said. "I couldn't explain the feeling in my gut the first time at bat."
Still, baseball is baseball, so Fowler said he was able to get locked in after the early butterflies. Besides, he wanted to take a look at his skills compared to the measuring stick made by the other participants.
"It really sets the bar," Fowler said of playing with the other al-stars. "It shows me where I am and where I need to be and what I need to do to get there.
"When someone is pushing at your spot, it makes you want to work harder. What better way than having the best push you."
Fowler was still able to learn a lot during his time with the Eagles. There are some lessons he learned that he hopes to keep with him. The all-star selection helped put the fruit of his labor in perspective.
"It mostly made me realize that one man can't do it all," Fowler said. "It's been good to see the team stick together. No matter what age you are, you can make a difference."
Just getting the chance for one more game before his high school career was officially over was something Fowler enjoyed doing. It helped put the finishing touches on a solid career.
"It's icing on the cake," Fowler said. "I had an amazing time with the Eagles. This tops it all off."
One of Fowler's strengths during the season was pitching. That's something the Mustangs will hope continues to be strong. In light of that, Fowler knows there is still work to be done.
"You always want to add velocity to your pitches," Fowler said. "You just want to work hard and be as dominate as you can."
Learning lessons is no doubt what school is all about, even in the realm of athletics. Adding the all-star experience to that adds even more lessons.
That also adds excitement to what lies ahead.
"I can't wait to see how this carries over," Fowler said.