During high school, the accolades poured in for Andrew Lowe. The newspaper clippings were abundant, and serve as reminders of a stellar four years at Whiting High School.
Lowe, a 2010 Whiting grad, is getting a second chance at baseball. It wasn't long ago that Lowe, a multiple-time All Greater South Shore Conference and All-Area selection, thought he would never pitch again. He thought he would just finish his elementary education degree.
Baseball had been his life. Lowe has a picture of himself playing catch with his father when Lowe was just 15 months old.
"Getting hyped and promised all these things, going to school, to have an injury and battle through that, I went through depression," Lowe said. "I didn't know what to do. I've been throwing a ball forever."
That injury was to the ulnar collateral ligament in Lowe's elbow, requiring him to have Tommy John surgery in January 2012. That kept him out of the entire 2012 college season. Then, Lowe cut a tendon on a finger on his pitching hand. After recovering from that surgery in February, Lowe was cut from Wisconsin-Whitewater's baseball team just before the 2013 spring season began.
"I was down and out," Lowe said. "It was tough seeing all the guys. You work so hard, and you're not able to play."
Lowe redshirted his freshman year, meaning he has never pitched an inning of college baseball. After committing to play for Purdue Calumet in May, the Chicago Zephyrs of the Midwest Collegiate League took a chance on Lowe. His first two outings of the summer were rough, but Lowe rebounded with a scoreless, three-inning appearance on June 30 against the Lexington Snipes, giving up just one hit. Lowe was selected to the MCL All-Star game for the North squad, but was disappointed with his performance, giving up three earned runs in a 12-4 loss.
"Obviously, it wasn't what I wanted," Lowe said. "It was cool to be here. It was a good experience."
Purdue Calumet pitching coach Jim Tucker has known Lowe for a long time, so recruiting him to play was an easy task.
"He got a rough shake at Wisconsin-Whitewater," Tucker said. "I asked him, and we kind of went from there. I think now, he's happy with the decision."
Tucker also has had Tommy John surgery, so he knows how arduous the recovery process can be. He said it's a testament to Lowe's heart to fight back from both surgeries.
"When you have that taken away from you, you don't realize how much of an impact the game has on you," Tucker said. "It's one of those things where you're kind of at a loss. The hand he's been dealt with college baseball and injury-wise, it would be easy to quit. Andrew won't, and we're excited to have him at Purdue Cal."