Long Island Ducks' James McOwen hits in a run in...

Long Island Ducks' James McOwen hits in a run in the third inning against the Somerset Patriots in the baseball game at Bethpage Ballpark. (May 18, 2012) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

James McOwen, 26, always will be known for "the streak." In 2009, the outfielder fashioned a 45-game hitting streak while playing for the High Desert Mavericks (Seattle Mariners' Class-A advanced affiliate) in the California League. His streak broke the league's previous record of 35 and thrust the 2007 sixth-round draft pick into the spotlight. He missed the following season after shoulder surgery but later found success in the Australian Baseball League, where he won the league MVP with the Adelaide Bite in 2011 and a championship with the Perth Heat in 2012. Released by the Mariners during spring training after reaching Double-A in 2011, McOwen is batting .238 with 22 RBIs through Saturday in his first season with the Ducks.

Talk about the experience and the pressure of going through a 45-game hitting streak.

"I didn't really put much pressure on myself because it was like my second full season, and I wasn't really doing that well. I didn't do that well my first season, so I was just like, 'I'm going to have a good time the rest of the year and see what happens.'

"There was a lot of luck involved, too. A couple of ground balls with eyes and stuff. It was fun, though. It put me on the map a little bit and helped me stick around the game a little longer."

Did the streak put any unwanted pressure and unrealistic expectations on you?

"I don't think so. One thing it did was put me under the microscope a little more. There were more articles about how I wasn't that good and wouldn't be doing anything in a couple of years."

"So I kind of got put under the microscope, and they talked more negative stuff about me. But I didn't care. I just was having a good time playing baseball."

After "the streak," you missed the following season after having shoulder surgery. How did that stunt your progress?

"Those group of guys I played with in 2009 all went to Double-A, and I was sitting in Arizona. So that kind of hurt as far as not having that group of guys in my comfort zone, like Alex Peguero and Travis Scott. I didn't get to go with them the next year."

What was the Australian baseball experience like?

"I loved going down there. That's why I went down there on my own the second year. Seattle got me down there the first year, and I just made a lot of contacts and got down there again for the second year. People down there love sports.

"Everybody is really enthusiastic about sports and baseball, and it was just a great time, a way to keep the endless summer going."

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