Former star pitcher now training others
BY BILL FREEHLING / THE FREE LANCE–STAR
A former star pitcher for Chancellor High School is starting a baseball training academy along State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County.
Chris Stowe, who was the 37th overall pick in the 1997 Major League Baseball draft, plans to open Pinnacle Baseball Academy’s new home in a 6,160-square-foot space at 5933 Plank Road by early December.
Stowe started the academy side of Pinnacle this past summer and has already been training young baseball players, but the Plank Road site is the company’s first space of its own.
The academy is in a red building that’s just north of State Route 3 between Riverbend High School and Chancellor Elementary School. CrossFit Forward is in the same building.
Pinnacle’s space features batting cages, pitching mounds and soft-toss stations. Stowe plans to add additional batting cages and automatic pitching machines, and, potentially, a weight room at some point.
Stowe will be among a group of instructors at Pinnacle Baseball Academy with solid baseball résumés. The list also includes Pinnacle Vice President Josh Goldberg, who played Division 1 baseball at Northeastern Illinois University, and Stowe is looking for additional instructors.
Stowe and Goldberg also manage travel teams run through a nonprofit arm of Pinnacle Baseball that Stowe started in January. Those players can opt to pay for additional training through the academy, but it’s not mandatory. Stowe plans to start travel teams composed of players who have trained at the academy.
Players will be able to sign up for memberships at Pinnacle Baseball Academy that will allow them year-round access to the facility. Previously, many local players have had to go to Richmond or Northern Virginia for that opportunity, Stowe said.
Stowe and his fellow instructors will teach players to respect the game, value hard work and never be satisfied with current performance levels. He’ll stress that practice is what makes players better, not fancy equipment. The motto on the wall under the Pinnacle name reads “where attitude determines altitude.”
Stowe racked up gaudy pitching statistics while a four-year varsity starter at Chancellor High. The righty compiled a record of 33–4, threw three no-hitters, had an ERA of 0.94 and struck out 345 batters in 250 innings pitched.
The Montreal Expos selected Stowe in the 1997 draft. He played a year in the Gulf Coast League, going 2–1 with a 3.23 ERA in nine starts, but an injury to his throwing elbow ended his career early.
Stowe, 34, now has a full-time job as an engineering equipment operator at the Quantico Marine Corps Base, having worked previously for W.C. Spratt Inc. The Spotsylvania resident doesn’t play baseball anymore, though he still misses it.
Stowe has stayed involved with the game as an instructor since his playing days ended, including now coaching his son’s travel team. He looks forward to helping future college prospects get to the next level at Pinnacle.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405