Baseball has always been there for Egg Harbor Township High School graduates Dan Allen and Curt Lowenstein.
They became teammates for the first time in Little League and then on various all-star and traveling teams.
The 21-year-olds went on to have successful high school careers at Egg Harbor Township that spring-boarded them into their current collegiate playing days at Stevens Institute of Technology.
Allen and Lowenstein, now juniors, have evolved into the leaders of the Ducks, who went 23-17 during the regular season and are waiting to see if they get a bid to the ECAC Metro Tournament.
The best friends and roommates are each in the midst of great seasons, and each will take the ride I-95 this summer to play in elite collegiate showcase leagues in the South.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Allen said of having Lowenstein around. “It makes everything easier having someone around you know you can trust.
“We both push each other. We’re so competitive. We’re best friends, but we’re competitive in a way that we always want to beat each other in everything and that makes us better.”
Allen and Lowenstein said they do get some good-natured ribbing from teammates about being inseparable at times.
“We’ve been playing together since we were 9 or 10 years old,” Lowenstein said. “It’s awesome. All these guys on the team are my brothers, but when it comes down to it, I have known Dan my whole life. He’s always there to give me advice.”
Stevens Tech coach Kristaps Aldins said that Allen and Lowenstein are the types of players he wants to build his Hoboken program around.
“This is our second year as the coaching staff here at Stevens, and those guys have done a tremendous job of promoting our baseball culture,” Aldins said. “Those guys are our hardest workers in the weight room. They are always striving to get better.”
Allen and Lowenstein are each versatile players with unique skill sets.
“Danny is hands-down our best player,” Aldins said. “There’s no question. He’s the most talented player on our team.”
Allen is leading the team in almost every category offensively. He’s also the team’s closer.
Allen (6-foot-4, 185 pounds) started all 40 of the team’s games this season. He is tops on the Ducks with a .353 average (48-for-136), 40 RBIs, 32 runs, 20 walks, 13 doubles and four home runs and was second on the team with 19 stolen bases.
Allen is 2-0 with six saves and a 0.73 ERA. He allowed just one run and struck out 14 in 121/3 innings.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster for me being able to do anything on the field,” Allen said. “When you can do it all you’re going to get more looks.”
Lowenstein always has been stellar defensively but has worked himself into a big-time offensive threat as well.
“He is our team’s best athlete,” Aldins said. “He’s a great athlete, which is something that is rare at the catching position. It’s a nice luxury to have.”
Catchers can be stereotyped as bigger, bulkier players who don’t move as well.
Lowenstein bats leadoff and stole a team-high 20 bases. He was second to Allen in average (.333) and had a .398 on-base percentage, four doubles and 19 runs scored. He is also an excellent bunter, a seemingly lost art in the game today.
“This year I really stepped up in the offseason,” Lowenstein said. “I put a lot of hard work in and went into the season saying that this was my team and I would lead them wherever they are going to be led.
“We have 18 freshmen on the roster, so it was really important for us older guys to kind of mold them into the way we play up here.”
Allen and Lowenstein’s plans extend beyond baseball. The duo excels not just on the field, but in the classroom as well.
Allen is chemical biology major and said he would like to go to graduate school for marine chemistry. Lowenstein, meanwhile, balances baseball with the rigors of majoring in civil engineering.
But with school winding down for the semester, Allen and Lowenstein will look to have a big summers.
Allen will play for the Florence RedWaves of the prestigious Coastal Plains League. Lowenstein will play for the Myrtle Beach Marauders in the Beach League.
“I am so excited,” Lowenstein said. “Playing baseball is awesome. Going away to play has always been a goal of mine, too. It’s going to be a great ride.”
Added Allen, “I am so unbelievably pumped. It’s going to be an amazing experience. I’m going to be competing with guys on a level that I’ve never competed at before, so I’m looking forward to that and seeing what opportunities it brings to me.”
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