BASHING BOWSER: Keystone Grad Off to Hot Start on Softball Diamond at Penn State DuBois

Is batting .503 with a pair of home runs and 26 RBIs for the Lions

Mike Kilroy

Mike Kilroy

Published April 2, 2024 9:50 pm
Last Updated: April 4, 2024 6:11 am
BASHING BOWSER: Keystone Grad Off to Hot Start on Softball Diamond at Penn State DuBois
Keystone graduate and Penn State DuBois freshman catcher Natalie Bowser is off to a hot start for the Lions. She's batting .503 with two homers and 26 RBIs in 18 games/submitted photo

DuBOIS, Pa. (EYT/D9) — This spring has been a refreshing one for Natalie Bowser.

A freshman on the Penn State DuBois softball team, the masher is stepping into the batters’ box knowing she will get something to turn on.

That didn’t happen very often at Keystone when she was breaking records and the will of opposing pitchers with the Panthers.

“Oh, much easier. It’s so much more enjoyable because I can actually play my game and I don’t have to worry about, ‘Oh, am I going to get pitched to this game?’ I just know I am,” Bowser said. “I’m very competitive in all sports. It’s been so great because I can look for pitches I can hit.”

Bowser got very few of them over her final two seasons at Keystone.

That’s because as a sophomore she enjoyed one of the best statistical seasons by any player in Pennsylvania — and the nation.

That year, her first because her freshman campaign was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Bowser hit .766 with 14 home runs and 48 RBIs. She hit more homers than she made outs.

Once word got out, opponents became very cautious when pitching to Bowser — if they pitched to her at all.

Still, as a junior she batted .629 with 11 homers and 30 RBIs and as a senior last spring, hit .635, belted six homers and knocked in 27.

Back as a relatively unknown commodity at the college level, Bowser is getting more opportunities to swing her might bat. And it’s showing.

Bowser is still doing Bowser things.

She’s already put up a .508 average with two homers, 10 doubles, a triple and 26 RBIs in 18 games for the Lions. She’s slugging .803.

“It’s been amazing, honestly. It’s a whole different game. A whole different type of competition, but being able to come in and do my thing is a lot of fun.”

It didn’t take Bowser long to make an impact.

She was named the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference hitter of the week for the second week of the season in mid-March when she hit .750 with three doubles and eight RBIs in 12 at-bats.

Bowser said she was a little surprised about how quickly she made the adjustment from high school to college softball, especially coming off a basketball season at Penn State DuBois.

“At first I was definitely unsure. It was something new and you don’t know what exactly you are stepping into,” Bowser said. “It’s a new coach — I’ve only been coached by my high school and travel ball coaches for years now. It was just different. When I got comfortable with that, when we came back from spring break, I knew that it was gonna be OK. It was just a feeling it was gonna be OK.”

Bowser has settled in as the full-time catcher for the Lions.

Last year, she was the catcher for Keystone by necessity more than anything.

“I only caught because we didn’t have another catcher,” Bowser said, chuckling.

Bowser, who plays first when she’s not crouching behind the plate, has been pleased with her play behind the dish.

“It’s definitely been an adjustment being an all-time catcher,” she said. “My body’s a little more sore than it usually was. I’m definitely happy with the way I’ve been performing as a catcher for our team because it’s not easy to go from one position to another.”

Bumps and bruises are nothing new for Bowser.

She also turned in a strong season for the women’s basketball team this winter, averaging a team-best 15.5 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.

Bowser had very little time between basketball and softball season.

“I think I had a week after the playoffs. I had to basically recondition myself in a different way for catching,” Bowser said. “I knew that was going to happen. I knew I just needed to do my thing. Softball is my sport, so I don’t get that too worked up about it. I know what I need to do. I know how to help my team. So it wasn’t that big of an adjustment. But it definitely was an adjustment.”

Bowser, though, wanted to play both sports in college.

It was why she chose Penn State DuBois; it was one of the few places that would allow her to play basketball and softball.

Bowser wouldn’t want it any other way — despite the toll on her body.

“No doubt about it. Whenever there’s back-to-back games, I say, ‘Why did I decide to do this to my body?’ I say that a lot,” Bowser said, laughing. “(But) it feels like a dream come true. It’s unreal. I’m blessed to play both sports in college. I’m blessed that I am able to do that. It also helps that all of my teammates are amazing and I truly love each and every one of them. Without them and the coaches, I wouldn’t be able to do it because they believe in me when sometimes I don’t believe in myself. It’s a blast. I love my team.”

Recent Articles