What he does to a baseball explains his nickname
“He’s a three-tool guy...as an eighth-grader.” Alex Hamilton
8th-grade phenom & superstar athlete; performing unbelievably well on the diamond
His name is Sebastian Howard. He is in the 8th-grade. He plays baseball. He plays it very, very well.
Everyone calls him “Bash.” Reasons for which will become readily apparent.
Probably not accurate, though it isn’t too far off, to call him a child prodigy at baseball. A prodigy is defined in psychological literature as a person, under the age of ten, producing output in some domain to the level of an adult expert.
The only part of the definition of prodigy which may not fit is the “under the age of ten” part. Everyone in the county knows about other young men around the county possessing similar aptitude for different sports as Bash has shown.
We all know what a fantastic talent Austin Sperry is in both football and basketball. We are all aware of how outstanding Jason Perry is on the football team. Everyone is well aware of Kory Combs and the other outstanding footballers who have just completed competition for Region IV in the Battle of the Regions Football Classic.
The entire county realizes and appreciates the immense talent, on the golf course, of Weston Miller, a classmate of Bash’s. All of these kids are as accomplished in their respective athletic endeavors as Bash is on the diamond, though arguably no more accomplished. Comparing some of these other sports to baseball is like drawing analogies between apples and oranges.
“He’s as outstanding as any 8th-grade prodigy I have ever before seen playing on a high school varsity roster,” senior William Long tells the Times-Voice. “He’s among our best players and a fixture in our middle-infield. He has as much bat speed and makes as solid of contact as any batter in our order. I had no idea he was a middle-schooler when preseason practice began.”
Varsity baseball coach at BHS, and the director of the baseball program, Alex Hamilton, was equally effusive in his praise of his young phenom. “He’s a dedicated player, doesn’t ask questions, and has an incredible work ethic.”
“His bat speed and fielding are superb. His future in our program is as a middle infielder,” Hamilton told the paper. “He’s a three-tool guy, right now, as an eighth-grader. The other tools will come with age and as he physically matures provided he continues to work as he has, which I am sure he will.”
Baseball scouts have long graded position players on five (5) tools. These tools are considered central to success in baseball. They are hitting, hitting for power, running, fielding, and throwing. What his high school manager is telling the reader is he’s a three tool player now, who could become a five-tool player later.
Three-tool players are varsity baseball regulars and sometimes stars. Five-tool players are called something too. Generally, they are called “Major League Draft Picks.”
Even though Bash may not fit the general definition attributed to prodigy, but only because he is too old, he does fit the maxim of being an acorn which didn’t fall too far from its tree. A child who exhibits the same or similar traits as his parents is often referenced this way.
Bash’s dad, Andrew Howard, was an All-District, All-Region performer for the Bobcats in baseball when he was there. In fact, he was the 2004 District MVP.
We talked to his dad about his young star. “Heck yeah, I am proud of Bash. He plays approximately 70-games a year and trains with Noochie Varner out of Georgetown, Kentucky.”
“Bash plays travel ball for the Noochie Varner Stars,” the elder Howard told the Times-Voice. “He also gets individual skills-training from Noochie, a former Cincinnati Reds draft pick.”
Noochie Varner, according to online research undertaken by newspaper staff, played at the Triple-A level of baseball for the Reds’ organization, twice making the All-Star team. He also numbers among the growing throng of Bash Howard fans.
That fan club is beginning to spread from the mountains all over the commonwealth, and with good reason. “Bash started playing baseball when he was only three (3),” Andrew Howard told the newspaper. “By the time Bash was four (4), he played Tee Ball. Unlike a lot of the other players, Bash was serious as a heart attack about it.”
We asked dad from where the nickname originated. Bash is a natural short for Sebastian, so we could have just speculated; but you should ask because you never really know.
Had we gone with our assumption, we would have been wrong. “Bash came from his Papaw’s best friend. His name was also ‘Sebastian’ and he got killed in a work-related incident. His name was ‘Patrick Sebastian’ and, in honor of him, we started calling our Sebastian ‘Bash’ too. It is extremely fortunate, as it turns out, because our ‘Bash’ really bashes the baseball.”
We talked to Drew about Bash’s sacrifices he has made to be the player he is right now. These sacrifices have been considerable.
“He plays, all told, about 70-games a year. Every spare moment he has, he’s at the gym or the batting cages,” Drew told us.
His gym work has been corroborated by Dan Spicer. Dan owns Fitness Factory in Jackson, Kentucky. He confirmed Bash’s working out with him four-times every week, without fail. He puts in the time, he works hard, and the physical benefits look rather obvious.
The bottom line here is this. Bash Howard is a superstar athlete, performing unbelievably well especially in light of his age and physical level of development. He has a burning desire to succeed. He is driven to excel. He is committed.
He’s among the more special talents we have in Breathitt County. His varsity season has just commenced.
We hope you take the opportunity to get out and watch Bash now. Before long empty seats may be “taken” by both college and pro scouts.
Note: Mr. Long is an award-winning Kentucky journalist recognized for excellence in both writing and reporting by the Kentucky Press Association.