Donning a Familiar Cap - Jon Downs '98 Returns to the Baseball Field

Jon Downs ’98 may have the most crowded hat rack at Millbrook. As Millbrook Headmaster-Elect, he is involved in every facet of school life. In the admissions department, he works to bring the best and the brightest to campus, and he additionally oversees the Alumni and Development and Communications Offices. This year, Coach Downs adds a baseball cap to the collection as head coach of Millbrook’s varsity baseball team.
Coach Downs has had a love of the game since childhood. He was part of the Millbrook baseball team that earned the most wins in school history and then went on to captain the team at Middlebury College. A coaching stint at Newark Academy in Livingston, NJ, during which the team won league championships and state titles, solidified both his ability and desire to coach.
The blue sport/gray sport model in place in this fall has allowed spring sports to get started earlier than ever. It’s a different kind of fall ball for the team, and workouts have been possible thanks to cooperative weather. Coach Downs has inherited two powerful D1-bound pitchers in Owen Wendell-Braly ’21 and Eli Stowe ’22. Science, data, and self-analysis are key to playing baseball at a high level, and both Wendell-Braly, committed to USC, and Stowe, verbally committed to Maryland, have rigorous year-round training plans. Current team workouts include traditional skill-building and also an appreciation for what modern science and research have brought to the game. The team now has 13 players on the practice field but will grow to 20 as the season nears. “The energy is through the roof,” said Coach Downs.
"It has been completely rejuvenating,” Coach Downs said of his return to the diamond, “I’ve been scrubbing off the rust but picking it up pretty quickly.” Coach Downs put much thought into the wisdom of adding head coach responsibilities to his already busy portfolio and ultimately decided that “it was a great opportunity to support the school in a different way.”
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