Randolph teen goes to bat for baseball equipment drive – Daily Record
Most of the time, Brendan Lowery is a sophomore infielder on the Randolph baseball team. Lowery is busy with his Rams teammates preparing to face Morristown-Beard in the second round of the Morris County Tournament on Saturday.
But in their spare time, Brendan and his father, Chris Lowery, help underprivileged baseball players in the Dominican Republic by collecting used baseball equipment and shipping it to poverty-stricken areas.
The Lowery family got involved in 2009, when older brother Christopher Lowery, a former Randolph baseball player who went on to play at Washington and Lee University in St. Louis, had the idea to collect equipment.
“We were doing some spring cleaning at the time, and we realized we had all this baseball stuff just lying around,” Chris Lowery said. “We figured that there had to be something that could be done to help someone.”
The Lowery family started a local drive in Randolph, collecting all different kinds of used equipment. It was donated to Brother’s Brother Foundation in Pittsburgh, which at first shipped medical equipment and supplies to the Dominican Republic.
“That winter, Chris and I went to the Dominican Republic to distribute the equipment,” Chris Lowery said. “That’s all it took. Chris was hooked. He saw what these kids had and realized he was doing the right thing.”
Young Brendan was waiting in the wings, poised to pick up where his older brother left off.
“Seeing what my brother started and what he was able to do really inspired me,” Brendan Lowery said. “It inspired me to try to one-up him.”
Brendan Lowery expanded the drive to try to collect as much equipment as possible. He went to other towns and leagues in Morris County and they chipped in. He developed a website, www.baseballdonations.com, which allows the general public to send monetary donations as well as equipment.
“It was very surprising to see how quickly it all took off,” Lowery said. “But it’s excellent to see where all the donations will go.”
Recently, Lowery partnered with the Major League Baseball Players Association, especially All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners.
The Lowery family went to Cruz’s hometown in the Dominican Republic.
“Here we were, traveling through a tiny desolate and destitute community to meet Nelson Cruz,” Chris Lowery said. “When we got there, we realized that we weren’t alone. Like holy mackerel, that’s Dellin Betances, and he’s saying, ‘Hey, sir, can I get you a cup of coffee?’”
The Yankee All-Star relief pitcher was one of several MLB players on hand, like fellow Yankee Starlin Castro, Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon and Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Joel Peralta.
“He’s a really great guy,” Brendan Lowery said of Nelson Cruz. “We got to see what he’s doing with the equipment. It was great. It’s always awesome to meet major leaguers.”
Almost 2,000 youngsters in the Dominican Republic have received equipment courtesy of Lowery’s drive. Brendan’s drive in Randolph collected more than 500 pieces of equipment.
Brendan Lowery wants to expand and collect even more used equipment and funding.
“It gave us a chance to see if we could do more,” Chris Lowery said. “Going forward, we’ll be able to collect a whole lot more with a name like Nelson Cruz.”
As for this season on the baseball field, Lowery is making the most out of his chances. He delivered a two-run double last week in a game against Cranford and had a run-scoring single against Boonton.
“It’s always tough to balance baseball with what I do off the field,” Lowery said. “I have to take the time and sit at the website and try to make it better.”
As the first month of the baseball season draws to a close this week, all seven divisions of the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference still are up for grabs and very close.
In the NJAC-United, Morristown (5-0) has a one-game lead over Delbarton (4-1). In the NJAC-National, surprising Morris Knolls (4-1) has a slight edge over Roxbury (3-1) and Randolph (3-2). In the NJAC-Liberty, Morristown-Beard is in first place with a 4-1 record, but Madison is on the Crimson’s heels with a 4-2 mark. In the NJAC-Freedom, powerful Jefferson has a one-game lead over High Point. In the NJAC-Independence, Pequannock (5-0) holds a half-game lead over Morris Catholic (5-1). In the NJAC-American, Sparta leads with a 3-0-1 record, with Morris Hills right behind at 2-1. And in the NJAC-Colonial, Newton and Wallkill Valley are tied for the top spot with identical 3-0 records.
Here’s how the next round of the Morris County Tournament shapes up for Saturday. The teams play on both Saturday and Sunday to get down to four teams.
Parsippany at Pequannock, 11 a.m.; Morris Hills at Roxbury, 11 a.m.; West Morris at Jefferson, 11 a.m.; Dover at Morristown, noon; Whippany Park at Morristown-Beard, noon; Montville at Mendham, 1 p.m.; Chatham at Delbarton, 1 p.m.; Morris Catholic at Randolph, 2 p.m.
Player of the week
Vince Montone, Jefferson senior
Montone has been one of the hottest hitters all season, but last week, he went 8-for-11 with two doubles, a homer and nine RBI for the 11-2 Falcons. Montone is batting .475 with three homers and 21 RBI this spring.