When a former Keys pitcher walks a former Keys pitcher

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth Sunday in Dunedin, Fla., a curious thing happened. A former Frederick Keys pitcher stepped into the left-handed batter’s box to face another former Keys pitcher.

The former Key on the mound during Sunday’s Orioles-Blue Jays spring training game was Kevin Gausman, the Orioles’ 2012 first-round pick (fourth overall) whose brief stint in Frederick last season (he started three games, throwing three innings in each contest) has been noted many a time on this blog and elsewhere.

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Kevin Gausman

 

The former Key at bat was Adam Loewen, who walked in his lone at-bat against Gausman. Loewen has a much longer history with Frederick’s baseball team.

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Adam Loewen

 

Loewen, the Orioles’ first round pick (also the fourth pick overall, like Gausman) in the 2002 draft, spent all of 2005 with the Keys. The highly-touted lefty made 27 starts and one relief appearance in ’06, going 10-8 with a 4.12 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 142 innings. Loewen’s wins and strikeouts ranked second on the Keys, trailing only current Orioles all-star closer Jim Johnson. (Johnson started 27 games for Frederick that season, going 12-9 with a 3.49 ERA while striking out 168 batters in 159 innings.)

After his 2005 campaign in Frederick, Loewen pitched for Canada in the World Baseball Classic and was the winning pitcher in his country’s 8-6 victory over the U.S. (box score here). That led to this hilarious rant by Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, described on The Colbert Report’s website as “America’s ballsiest pundit.” Note the Frederick Keys and Harry Grove Stadium mentions near the end of his spiel.

Loewen made it to the big leagues in 2006, starting 19 games for the Orioles and making three relief appearances, going 6-6 with a 5.67 ERA. He pitched in six games for Baltimore in 2007 but a stress fracture in his pitching elbow in 2008 would end his pitching career.

Loewen was released by the Orioles and in his second stint with Toronto’s organization since transitioning to the outfield. He made his major league debut as a hitter in 2011 with Jays, as chronicled in this MLB.com story.

Gausman pitched 1 2/3 innings Sunday and his outing ended after walking Loewen. He struck out two, walked two, allowed a double and a run while lighting up the notoriously favorable radar gun at the Blue Jays’ spring training stadium. Gausman hit 98 with his fastball, according to this story by MLB.com’s Adam Berry.

*The top 3 in the O’s batting order for their game against the Yankees today are all Frederick Keys (Reimold, Roberts, Markakis), according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko.

*MASN’s Steve Melewski muses on where Manny Machado should bat in the O’s order this year in this story.

*The Keys job fair begins tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at Harry Grove Stadium. The event will also be held Wednesday at the same time, running until 8 p.m. both nights. More info on the job fair is here.

Shake your Keys.

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