By Steve Breazeale
When asked what first comes to mind when thinking about his senior shortstop Harrison White, St. Margaret’s head baseball coach Mel Taylor needed only one word—Leader.
For the past four years, White has been a steady presence for St. Margaret’s, both on the field and in the clubhouse.
In 19 games played during the regular season, White compiled a .525 batting average and had a .603 on-base percentage.
He was solid with the glove all season as well, recording only eight errors at shortstop.
In a pinch, he even took the mound for the Tartans. He pitched 40 innings and boasted a 2.45 earned run average.
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound lefty also possesses other intangibles, especially when it comes to leading his fellow players.
“He’s definitely the leader of our team. He’s the catalyst all the way from the kids lifting in the weight room to motivating them the way they should be. He’s the guy setting the tone,” Taylor said. “He’s out there at the end of practice conditioning more, taking ground balls…When these younger guys see him, our program only lifts.”
White recently committed to play Division 1 baseball for Yale. We caught up with White to talk about his career at St. Margaret’s, why he chose Yale and the upcoming season.
The Capistrano Dispatch: You had a few schools looking at you, who were they and why did you ultimately decide on Yale?
Harrison White: Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth (were looking) but a lot of those doors had recently closed. But I think ultimately throughout the whole process Yale was at the top or near the top of the list…Amherst (UMass) was probably my top choice…Ultimately I decided to go to Yale because it’s an Ivy League school and it’s tough to turn down an Ivy League education. Plus, with the opportunity to play baseball there it was almost a no brainer.
CD: What kind of role do the coaches at Yale see you stepping into as a freshman next fall?
HW: They told me I’ll probably be in the lineup sometime early on… I’m really excited to be in the lineup as a freshman. I don’t know if I’ll play defense or be a designated hitter, that hasn’t made itself clear yet. But I’m hoping to be in the lineup as a hitter at least.
CD: Do you think you’ll be ready to step into the batter’s box and compete with Division 1 pitching talent as a freshman?
HW: It’s going to be interesting, going from a Division 6 high school baseball level to a Division 1 college baseball level is definitely going to be a big jump…Considering my summer practice schedule I don’t think it’s going to be a huge issue but it will definitely be a challenge.
CD: What have you been doing in preparation for the jump to college ball?
HW: I’ve been working on outfield and doing a little bit of pitching and catching, basically anything to help out the team and be on the field. I’ve always bounced around the infield so outfield is a little bit of a foreign place for me…I figure if I need to go in the outfield, I don’t want the coaches to feel uncomfortable putting me out there. If I work on it now and improve those skills I’ll be more likely to be on the field.
CD: What are you most proud of when you look back on your career at St. Margaret’s?
HW: It’s really the hard work that pays off in the end. I’m really excited to know now after having gone through everything I’ve gone through with sports and pushing your body and your mind to the limit that it changes you as a person. It makes you a better person and a better athlete.
CD: You’re going to the Ivy League, I’m assuming you had a high G.P.A? What was it?
HW: This past semester I had a 4.5 (G.P.A). Cumulative it is a 4.23.
CD: Do you have a major picked out yet?
HW: Recently I’ve gotten into music. If you would have asked me this six months ago I probably would have said a doctor…But I’ve really gotten into music.
CD: What instruments do you play?
HW: I play the acoustic guitar and sing. I’ve had people tell me I’d be a good record producer because I have a good ear for things, but I’m not sure. We’ll see.
CD: Who are you musical influences?
HW: John Denver is a big one. John Mayer, the Zac Brown Band…and from a vocalist standpoint Michael Buble is what I strive for.
CD: So what are your expectations for this year’s Tartan team?
HW: Having gone that far (to the Division 6 semi-finals) last year, now that we know what we’re capable of, expectations are high. This year I think we have a better base…All we can do is improve.