Cody Bowker, center, Michael McLeer and Brady Graffam, right, celebrate Thornton Academy’s first regional baseball title, after defeating South Portland 8-1 in the Class A South final. The Trojans went on the capture the state championship, with Bowker scoring the only run and earning the win as a relief pitcher against Bangor. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

This spring, Cody Bowker and other captains on the Thornton Academy baseball team held sessions before school to help players work on their hitting.

“That was the main reason. But it also brought us all together,” Bowker said. “That set expectations. And that expectation was, we all have the same goal in mind: to get the Gold Glove.”

Thanks in large part to Bowker, a senior pitcher and outfielder, Thornton met those expectations by winning the school’s first baseball state championship with a 1-0 victory over Bangor in the Class A final. For his accomplishments, Bowker is the the 2022 Varsity Maine Player of the Year in baseball.

Bowker, 18, of Bowdoinham, was a 2021 Varsity Maine All-State selection and a contender for Player of the Year honors as a junior. This season, he improved across the board statistically and grabbed hold of the team leadership role.

“He led by example in the weight room, getting the team to hit early every single morning at 7 o’clock,” said Thornton Coach Jason Lariviere. “And they would hit every single day, and Cody was the one who held them accountable.”

During the regular season, as Thornton compiled a 15-1 record to earn the No. 1 seed in Class A South, Bowker hit a division-leading .500 with 11 doubles, two triples and four homers. From the leadoff spot, he drove in 22 runs and scored 36.


Recruited as a two-way player to Georgetown University, Bowker went 9-0 as a pitcher, striking out 97 and walking just four over 60 innings. He finished with a 0.47 ERA, and opponents hit only .124 against him.

“Cody is a difference maker every time he steps on the field,” said Falmouth Coach Mike D’Andrea. “He’s going to steal bases, he’s going to throw a strike to any base and he’s going to hit for power, and I haven’t talked about him pitching yet.”

Bowker took center stage in the two biggest wins in Thornton baseball history.

He pitched a three-hitter with nine strikeouts as Thornton avenged its 2021 regional final loss to South Portland with an 8-1 victory. Bowker put the game out of reach with his three-run double in the fifth inning and, because he was efficient on the mound, was available to pitch in the state final against Bangor on three days rest.

Against Bangor, Bowker worked a two-out walk in the third inning (after falling behind 1-2), alertly took second base on a wild pitch that skidded just a few feet away from Bangor’s catcher, and scored on an error. Then, with runners at the corners and no outs in the fourth inning, Bowker relieved starter Josh Kopetski and got out of the jam. He finished with four innings of one-hit relief work, striking out seven, to complete a 1-0 win.

After graduating with a 4.05 GPA, Bowker is spending the summer pitching in the Appalachian League, a wooden bat collegiate league in its second season after decades as an affiliated minor league. He is the youngest player on the Elizabethtown River Riders’ roster. He’s appeared in three games as a reliever, allowing two hits, two runs, and five walks with six strikeouts in six innings.


“As of now, I have six innings under my belt and I’m hitting every day to keep my swings down, but all of our hitters are super, super good, so they bat at a little higher level than I am,” said Bowker, who also was named the Gatorade Maine Player of the Year. “I’m just trying to earn my time at the plate and on the mound.”

The 2022 high school baseball season featured several standout players with bright futures. Greely senior catcher/pitcher Ryan Kolben, who will play at UMass after taking a gap year, won the John Winkin Mr. Baseball Award. Kolben’s teammate, left-handed pitcher Zach Johnston, didn’t allow an earned run and went 10-0 in his final high school season before heading to Wake Forest.

But Bowker and Thornton got it done when it counted most.

Said Scarborough Coach Wes Ridlon: “He does it all, just a game-changer for them. And they’re not winning a state championship without him. He’s a competitor and a good kid, too, on top of it.”

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