After missing the final two-plus games of the football season with a concussion and not participating in a winter sport, Kyle Bowles was looking forward to his final season with the Westland baseball team.
One of 11 seniors, Bowles and his teammates hoped to help the Cougars improve on last season, when they finished 9-13.
They didn't get that opportunity, however, as the OHSAA canceled the spring sports season because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"I was disappointed, it was sad," said Bowles, a pitcher who also saw time at second base, shortstop and third base. "I definitely didn't think that was going to happen. I'm going to miss high school sports. They were probably the best time of my life, being with all my teammates and coaches."
Last spring, Bowles was 1-2 on the mound with a 4.05 ERA, 11 strikeouts and five walks in 26 1/3 innings. He appeared in nine games, making four starts.
Offensively, he led the team in stolen bases (13) and triples (2) and had three doubles.
"Kyle has a great family, a great work ethic and he gets good grades," coach Brent Shannon said. "He does the right things and he's an absolute competitor on the field. ... When you talk about a kid like Kyle, you just want the best for him. He was a kid that I felt trust in even as a junior and a sophomore. He really took me in as coach. He was a leader you leaned on."
In football, Bowles began last season at wide receiver, but later played quarterback for the first time since his freshman season. However, he suffered a season-ending concussion in a 17-13 loss to Central Crossing in Week 8.
Bowles finished the season with 239 yards rushing and one touchdown on 23 carries and eight receptions for 106 yards and a score.
With collegiate coaches having limited opportunities to scout athletes this spring because of the pandemic, high school coaches, including Shannon, have provided them with videos of their athletes.
That tactic aided Bowles, who caught the attention of several colleges. He recently committed to play baseball for Capital.
"We got some video of him and sent it off and we got a lot of interest," Shannon said. "I'm surprised, not because he's not talented, but because of all the stuff (pandemic) going on. A lot of coaches aren't able to go out and watch, so a lot of their recruiting is done through videos. I'm proud of him and I think he can do good things."
According to Bowles, the Crusaders coaches have indicated that they will give him a chance to pitch.
He also is considering trying out for the Capital football team as a defensive back.
"It's an incredible feeling," Bowles said of potentially playing two sports in college. "Something a lot of athletes don't get to do. ... The baseball coaches seem to like what I throw. I have a big arsenal. I have a changeup and a sinker."
Bowles, who plans on majoring in accounting, said he eventually may enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps.
"We expected Kyle to be a military kid," Cougars football coach Rick Rios said. "We're excited to see him continuing his athletic career along with his education. He is a young man who was willing to do whatever the coaching staff asked of him. He is a good athlete, with great character and the perseverance to succeed at whatever he chooses to do."