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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Adrian Harrison plays former baseball team, U18 Windsor Selects

by Greg Layson


Former Essex Red Raider Adrian Harrison is simultaneously living the dream and keeping one alive.


“I want to be a Major League Baseball player,” the Cottam resident said bluntly and without hesitation Sunday, about an hour before a game at Ron Mottl Baseball Field in Parma Heights, OH.


Harrison started at third base for the Cuyahoga Community College — or Tri-C — Triceratops, which was hosting his former team, the U18 Windsor Selects of the Canadian Premier Baseball League.


The 5-foot-10, 175-pound infielder, who throws and bats right-handed, is there on scholarship, in pursuit of a career in professional baseball.


“That’s it. That’s what I do every day. Everything in the classroom, the extra work at practice, it’s all for that one goal,” he said.


Triceratops’ Head Coach Kyle Stahlberg was immediately drawn to Harrison when his team played the Selects more than a year ago and the young prospect had a couple hits.


“I just really liked how he played the game. He had a certain aggression about him, and he carried himself a certain way,” Stahlberg said.


Nearly a year had passed since Stahlberg saw Harrison in person when he arrived at camp in August.


“But, the first day he walked into practice, I remembered exactly why I liked him so much a year ago,” Stahlberg said.


Harrison said his tenure at Tric-C is “all about learning and growing.”


“My goal is to be an all-conference infielder,” he said. When Harrison was pursuing U.S. college ball, some schools questioned his arm strength earlier in his teens. But he worked on that, and upped his speed to nearly 90mph across the diamond, enough to land him at third base, making the longest throw on the infield.


Success in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference of The National Junior College Athletic Association could open the doors to NCAA baseball and who knows from there.


Harrison and Stahlberg both said the young player is adjusting well to the rigours of post-secondary baseball, which include longer classes, longer practices, and living away from home.


“Time management’s been huge,” Harrison said. “The game’s quicker, guys run faster, guys throw harder, hit further, so it’s a bit of adjustment.


“But I think I’ve been ready for it with preparation and it’s just been a great learning experience,” Stahlberg loves Harrison’s intangibles. “I call it his intuition. And it’s kind of at that moment the bat hits the ball and he just has this intuition about him,” he said. “I love how this kid attacks the ball. He’s got good feet and good hands. We’re going to be able to move him kind of all across the infield.”


Harrison, who had and RBI single in his first at-bat against Windsor on Sunday is the only Canadian on the roster. That hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates.


“It’s fun representing my country,” Harrison said. “I get a lot of questions; a lot of stuff about syrup and all that good stuff. But it’s all in good fun.”

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