Nashua’s Kevin McGowan still climbing NY Mets’ minor league ladder

Kevin McGowan is soaking in the sun this summer. It’s been all fun and games for the 22-year-old Nashuan. Baseball games that is.

“I’m enjoying a lot of new things this summer,” McGowan said, “but it’s also a lot of work. I’m not just enjoying the beautiful weather out here. I’m still putting in the time and hard work I need to get where I want to be.”

After starting the season in Savannah, Ga., with the Class-A Sand Gnats, the New York Mets promoted the 6-foot-6, 215-pound right-handed pitcher to Port St. Lucie, Fla., with the Advanced Class-A St. Lucie Mets on June 19.

The only thing that’s changed for McGowan in the last three months is the scenery. His production on the mound hasn’t slipped from one stop to the other.

With the Sand Gnats, McGowan started all 10 games he pitched. Opponents batted just .198 as he went 4-2 with a 2.14 ERA, striking out 44 and walking 22 in 59 innings of work. He also tossed one shutout and one complete game on his way to a spot in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game at L.P. Frans Stadium, home of the Hickory (N.C.) Crawdads.

“Savannah was awesome,” said the Nashua High School North graduate, who was drafted by the New York Mets in the 13th round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Franklin Pierce University. “I love Savannah. The city, the people, the ballpark – I love it all. I got to go to Hickory, N.C., and represent my team as an all star and play with 10 teammates in that game. I have a lot of great memories from Georgia.

“I found out a day after that all-star game that I was being moved.”

That next stop is the St. Lucie Mets, where McGowan is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA. He started in his first appearance with the Mets, earning the victory in his St. Lucie debut on the road at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. He gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings. All three runs came in the fifth, as the Mets won for the ninth time in 10 games by holding off the Jupiter Hammerheads 5-4.

McGowan made his first relief appearance of the season on June 30, coming on in relief of rehabbing veteran John Lannan with two outs in the fourth against the Bradenton Marauders at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.

Trailing 2-1, McGowan did not allow a run and allowed just three hits over the last 52?3 innings of the game. He earned his second win as the Mets rallied for a 5-2 win over the Marauders, the Advanced Class-A affiliate of the Pirates.

He’ll see them again in his next scheduled start Tuesday at McKechnie Field in Bradenton.

“I’m feeling good,” McGowan said. “There’s been a lot of adjusting, but I’ve been able to settle in with each stop. I’m continuing in my progression, and I obviously this is where I want to be right now. I just have to keep working and performing to the best of my ability.

“This is just the next step on my way to the top. I can’t just expect it to come to me. I’ve got to keep working toward that ultimate goal.”