The William Blake Marston Scholar-Athlete Award is given to a Stonehill College baseball player who exemplifies the character of former Skyhawk William Blake Marston, who went on to become a Navy Seal.
Marston passed away as a Navy Seal and the award was established two years ago to honor him. This year the award was given to Eddie Bowler, who graduated Hingham High in 2013, and just finished his baseball career at Stonehill.
In his senior year at Hingham, Bowler was a team captain and led the Harbormen to a state championship. At Stonehill, Bowler finished his final season with a .310 batting average, which ranked 27th in the Northeast-10 Conference, and tallied 32 RBIs, placing him ninth in the conference.
"This award is an incredible honor and I am incredibly humbled to receive it. Although I did not know Blake personally, the stories I have heard are incredible and he was a true American hero," said Bowler.
To win this award, the scholar-athlete must show exemplary respect and encouragement to his teammates. He must also show a commitment to keeping fit and strong, and a constant dedication to achieving his highest potential.
"In the dead of winter it was either November or December, we were doing some conditioning exercises, and Ed's a big guy, so he's great at weightlifting," said Stonehill coach Pat Boen. "And we had some freshman this year, who were really kind of lifting weights for the first time, and our strength and conditioning coach put one of the players through a pretty difficult exercise. He had to carry 135 pounds up and back through our sports complex, which is very difficult even for a big strong guy, but this one player he was really struggling, he couldn't do it, and Ed was right there for him to help him every step of the way.
"Right at that moment I said, man that's what being a teammate is all about, really helping someone that couldn't do something and just being there to support him."
A candidate for this award must also demonstrate a no-excuse, never-quit attitude and a respect for discipline.
"What I am definitely going to miss the most are the guys," said Bowler. "We had a great group of players this year and what I am going to miss the most is being around a great and talented group. I will especially miss my fellow seniors.
"Over the past four years we have come together as a family and I couldn't imagine not having this group of friends around me in the future. I am lucky because all of us will be lifelong friends but I will miss the competitiveness and passion that each member of the team brought on a daily basis. These guys made playing a 50-game schedule a privilege, not a hardship."
Boen presented Bowler with this award on Senior Night. Bowler is only the second person to receive this great honor.
"We wanted to award a student-athlete who had the same characteristics that Blake had - leadership, teamwork, a guy who pushes others and gets the best out of himself," said Boen. "And we thought Eddie was a great candidate for that, he was probably one of the best teammates I've had in my 20 years of coaching."
Bowler was also excellent defensively from the first base position. In his senior season he finished with 31 putouts and only three errors. His actions on and off the field made him a leader for the team and in the Stonehill community.
"Last year my coach handed out this award for the first time and it was a great honor," said Bowler. "At that time all I could think is how badly I wanted to exemplify the characteristics that Blake demonstrated during his time at Stonehill and through his service."
At Stonehill, Bowler majors in business management, and is set to graduate this spring.
"After school I am hoping to start my career in the business world. I am looking for positions in the commercial real estate industry, and I am hoping to bring the same enthusiasm and competitiveness to the business world," said Bowler.