The Unbelievable Story Of Johnny Dow

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

ROME, Ga. — Imagine being cut as a freshman in high school and then once again as a sophomore and never going out for the team again.

Consider this same young man ultimately becoming an All-American in college.

While it seems impossible to believe, RHP Johnny Dow of Georgia Highlands College has experienced this improbable story.

He refused to give up his dream of playing baseball and eventually was given a chance to pitch at junior college powerhouse Georgia Highlands.

He was redshirted during the 2019 season as he became bigger and stronger.

Now a strapping 6-foot-4, 215 pounder, he has been incredible in two years with the Chargers.

Believe it or not, this young man has only walked 1 batter and struck out 75 in 69 2/3 innings over the past two seasons which is extremely rare.

On top of that, he is 10-0 with a microscopic 1.42 ERA in the past two seasons.

Despite not playing an inning in high school, Dow was 6-0 with a 1.05 ERA at Georgia Highlands during his first year in 2020 before the season was shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He fanned 41 batters and didn’t walk a single batter as he was named an All-American.

This season, Dow fired a 7-inning no-hitter during a 6-0 win over Snead State with no walks and 4 strikeouts as he was named NJCAA Pitcher of The Week.

In two years, he has increased his fastball from 77 mph to 92 mph.

He also has gained 50 pounds of muscle.

Georgia State has already signed him to a scholarship because they are so impressed with this strike throwing machine who never stops working.

Considering the circumstances, what Dow has achieved may be the greatest feat in college baseball history.

Why didn’t Dow simply quit playing baseball after being tossed aside in high school.

“I attended Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga., and they typically have two rounds of cuts over several weeks of tryouts,” said Dow.

“They list the names of players who weren’t cut on their website.

“If a person was not on this list, he could go into the head coach’s office and ask why. So my freshman year, I was cut in the second round and wasn’t allowed to be on the freshmen team. I went to his office and asked him why I was cut and what I needed to work on. I was told I wasn’t big enough, strong enough. and I never would be.

“He was brutally honest with me, but I was shocked at what he said to be perfectly honest. That’s what comes with the sport.”

Never Gives Up
Dow felt like he was hit with a gut punch.

But he never gave up and continued to play baseball the following summer in the East Cobb baseball program that is nationally known.

“I took baseball more serious that summer because I got a reality check with the coach’s comments at Lassiter H.S. I began focusing more on my command and throwing a lot of strikes. I was 14 years old at the time and really worked hard.

“Beyond working on command, I tried to get a little stronger. I was only 6-foot tall and 145 pounds back then.”

When he became a sophomore at Lassiter H.S., all he could think about was the baseball tryouts as the season approached.

“My anxiety level was pretty high as you can imagine. For some reason, I struggle to remember my sophomore year tryouts as vividly as my freshman year tryouts. Maybe it was because I was cut after the first round of tryouts my sophomore year. It was pretty quick, and I was out of there.

“I just accepted it and never went into the coach’s office to ask why. Obviously, I was crushed I couldn’t play and never went out for the baseball team again in my junior and senior years at the school.”

Dow said word traveled fast that he was cut a second time at Lassiter H.S.

“That’s when it got pretty interesting. My situation got around to several other high schools who were confused at what was going on at Lassiter.

Everybody knows each other in the baseball community in Marietta, Ga.

“We all grew up and played together in Little League. One of my summer coaches was coaching at another local high school. He asked me if I wanted to come over to his school and play there. Unfortunately, it would have been too much of a struggle to switch high schools, and my parents really didn’t want me to enroll at another school.

“So I played in a home school league at East Cobb which is where I played summer ball all the time. I played for my summer ball coach in that league. I got to play with a lot of kids that I play summer ball with who chose not to play high school baseball.

“We played some high school teams and other teams like us. And that is what I did for the next three years until I graduated from Lassiter High School.

“I never played one inning of baseball at Lassiter.”

Dow said when he graduated, he was ready to move on from baseball and just be a full-time student at Kennesaw State University.

“At that point, baseball would have been over for me. My senior year at Lassiter H.S., I duel enrolled with classes at Kennesaw State as I finished with a 3.75 grade point average at Lassiter. I had my classes set up for the fall of 2018 to just be a student at Kennesaw St.”

Dow said the biggest break of his baseball career came of all places on a cruise ship.

To read more of this article, purchase the April 9, 2021 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.