DENVER — On Monday, former Newark Reds baseball player Ben Cowles was selected with the 303rd pick of the 10th round by the New York Yankees in the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft.
It was a dream come true for a life-long Yankees fan.
“Just the joy for him and all his years of hard work,” Cowles’ father, Darren, said in a phone call to the Times about his son being drafted. “I know what his dreams have been and it’s finally come true even more so because it’s the New York Yankees.”
After graduating from Newark in 2018, Cowles played for the Newark Pilots of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League in the summer of 2018 before taking his talents to Division I’s University of Maryland.
Cowles is fresh off a stellar junior season at Maryland where he led the team in home runs with 18 and runs batted in with 51.
He led Maryland to Regionals in the 2021 NCAA Division I baseball tournament until falling to the 12th-ranked East Carolina for a spot in the Super Regionals.
“Halfway through this past season,” Darren noted about when he thought his son might be drafted. “He was putting up big numbers. I thought he might have had a good shot at going into the draft this year. We ended up getting an advisor that had followed Ben. He’s had a lot of good contact with Major League scouts, we saw the excitement in him and to hear him talk about Ben’s potential, ability to go into the draft so we knew we had a really good shot of hopefully going this year.”
Darren also said that Ben really took his career to the next level at the end of his sophomore year before it was cut short due to the pandemic.
Cowles changed his swing and batted over .400 in his final seven games of his sophomore season at Maryland.
Mike McGavisk, Newark’s current baseball head coach, coached Cowles during his time as a Newark Red.
“It’s very exciting news,” McGavisk said about Cowles getting drafted. “We knew that he was getting looked at after a phenomenal season at Maryland. We are so proud of Ben and what he’s been able to accomplish thus far. I’m happy for his family; Darren and Roxanne have worked so hard.
“I remember saying to coaches at the higher level that I’ve never had a Division I baseball player and I wanted them to take a look at Ben,” McGavisk said of Cowles before his time at Maryland. “He’s different, just the way the ball comes off the bat, his work ethic, his grit, just his overall ability to field, throw and run.”
Newark has shown its support over the past 48 hours since the Yankees called his name.
“It’s been incredible,” Darren said about the Newark area reacting to Ben’s draft day. “The people that have reached out, it’s been really nice to see that everybody is excited for Ben.
“All of Coach McGavisk’s work that he’s put in with Ben both in at high school and through his collegiate career — (Coach McGavisk) has been there so he can help him get on the field so that he can practice, get him in the weight room so he can continue his weight training in the off-season through the Christmas breaks. Coach Mac supported him 100 percent.”
Darren also gave a shoutout to David Roth of PAC training in East Rochester.
“We owe him gratitude for being such a great role model, great coach the last seven years with Ben,” Darren said of Roth. “He’s had a tremendous impact on Ben’s baseball career.”
The former Red is now a potential Bronx Bomber. Ben headed down to Tampa today to start his training for the Yankees at their spring training facilities.
“I remember that day he signed with Maryland in the high school library, he was asked what his goal was going into college. He said his goal was to play major league baseball and that’s been Ben’s goal,” McGavisk said.
Due to the hectic schedule following just being drafted, Yankees’ draftee Ben Cowles was unable to to speak with writer Nick Felice. Ben and Nick plan to speak in the days to come. Look for a follow-up story with comments from Ben on his days at Newark, Maryland and being drafted by his childhood favorite team.