Rifle High’s Austin Bowlan signs to play baseball at Williston State College in North Dakota | PostIndependent.com

Rifle High’s Austin Bowlan signs to play baseball at Williston State College in North Dakota

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Rifle senior Austin Bowlan winds up for a pitch at home against Steamboat Springs earlier this season.
Theresa Hamilton/Courtesy

On May 16, Rifle High School senior Austin Bowlan signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Williston State College in North Dakota in the company of family, friends, coaches and teammates.

The Williston State Tetons play in the Mon-Dak conference of the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) and finished their recent conference season with a 16-8 conference record, good enough for third place in the conference. 

Bowlan has been a four-year letter winner for Rifle in baseball, excelling particularly as a pitcher where he set a new school record his junior season for earned run average (ERA) with an incredible 0.92 ERA in 61 innings pitched. He was selected as the 2022 4A Western Slope League Co-Pitcher of the Year in addition to being all-conference first team while notching a 9-1 record on the mound with 68 strikeouts.

He was part of a team that had Rifle’s best baseball season ever at the 4A level, going 20-5 on their way to being seeded second in the state playoffs out of 68 teams in the 4A level. The Bears won their first playoff game over Evergreen in a game Bowlan pitched, but then fell to eventual final four team D’Evelyn in the regional championship game.

“Austin was a big part of our success last year and this year,” Rifle head coach Troy Phillips said. “He has shut down a number of teams, and he has an elite curve ball along with a great slider and cutter that give hitters fits. Just trying to catch his pitches with all the movement he generates is a challenge. It is really exciting for him to get this opportunity to play at the next level and we are so proud of him and what he has become as a player.”

In addition to his prowess on the mound, Bowlan has also been a main contributor as a hitter, batting .349 with 31 RBI’s and 21 runs scored a year ago. He has continued that success this season, again hitting .349 going into the playoffs.

As a pitcher he has racked up 70 strikeouts in just 43 and two-thirds innings pitched with a 2.56 ERA this season.

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