COVINGTON - Former Eastside pitcher Robby Loew is taking the next step in his college baseball career.
Loew is trading in the blue and gold of the Southern Union State Community College Bison for the cardinal, black and silver of the Troy University Trojans.
Loew signed with Troy after he went 8-1 and had an ERA of 3.60 last spring for Southern Union. He had 65 strikeouts and 27 walks in 80 innings pitched. He had a career-high 13 strikeouts against Central Alabama.
Troy was one of 10 schools that approached the right-hander after pitching his first game for Southern Union against Bevill State. In that game, he pitched four innings and struck out four batters with one walk. He gave up one earned run on four hits and picked up the win.
When asked why he picked Troy over the other schools that showed interest, Loew said that he liked Troy's reputation as being a top program.
"Every year, we've heard of Troy being a real good baseball program. It seems that they beat Alabama and Auburn every year. All I've heard are good things there," Loew said. "Their pitching coach was a scout for the Angels. They've had a winning program for six or seven years."
In his two years as a Bison, after he was red-shirted the first season, he became bigger, stronger and a more complete pitcher. His fastball has been clocked at 92 miles per hour, and he adopted a slew of other pitches.
"I've got a fastball that sinks toward a right-handed batter, I have a change-up, I have a slider, a curve ball and I also have a split-finger fastball. It goes down," Loew said. "They say it looks like a fastball coming in and then it just drops off the table."
Loew was a walk-on at Southern Union, having given up a baseball scholarship at Truett-McConnell. Southern Union also looked at him while he was at Eastside but didn't have any scholarships available.
"I decided to walk on at Southern Union because I knew of the reputation that it had and how good their program was and that I would get a lot better. I got redshirted my first year because I needed to get a little bigger, which was a good move," Loew said. "I gained a lot of knowledge of baseball and I got stronger; that's what I needed, to get stronger. I was kind of slim and tall. At Southern Union, I got a lot of encouragement and they helped me out as far as getting stronger as far as what I needed for baseball. I had some good coaches that coached me and we were in the state (Alabama Community College Conference) championship the two years I was there."
The move to better program also helps Loew in hopefully fulfilling his dream: to play in the majors.
"I hope to be drafted," he said. "If it doesn't happen this year, it should happen in the year to follow. Right now, I have the (Boston) Red Sox and the (Houston) Astros looking at me."
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.