From the HCC sports desk:
Harford Baseball’s Harbach Named National Player of the Week
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Harford baseball sophomore Joe Harbach (Abingdon, Md./Edgewood) has been named the NJCAA Division-II Baseball Player of the Week, for the week ending Sunday, March 28, the NJCAA announced on Wednesday.
Harbach joins Division-I POTW winner and top MLB-prospect Bryce Harper (Southern Nevada) on the final POTW selection in March after batting .800 (16-for-20) in six games from Mar. 22-28. The sophomore slugger led the Fighting Owls (19-5) to six wins over the week, extending Harford’s win streak to 12 straight games.
Harbach was whiff-less in a week which saw him tally six doubles, a triple, two home runs and 20 RBI, as well as notching a save on the mound. He started the week off by going a perfect 4-for-4 with three runs, three doubles, a home run and seven RBI against MDJUCO conference-foe Prince George’s on Mar. 23 and smashed a grand slam two days later at another conference opponent, CCBC-Dundalk.
Harbach also picked up a save that game, pitching three scoreless innings in relief, while allowing just three hits and fanning two batters.
Sadly, the weekend games saw his 18-game hitting streak (Feb. 21-Mar. 26) come to an end as he went hitless in the second game of a doubleheader against Garrett. He redeemed himself on Sunday, Mar. 27, however, by going a perfect 7-for-7 at the plate with seven runs, two doubles, a triple and six RBI in a doubleheader sweep of Montgomery College-Rockville. On the season, Harbach has reached base safely in all 24 games and has a hit in all but two.
Harbach currently leads Harford with a .573 (47-for-82) average on the season, helping the Owls to the top spot in the nation for team batting average (.405). The sophomore standout also ranks in the top-20 of the nation in all four hitting categories: on-base percentage (.644, second), batting average (.573, third), RBI (34, T-fourth) and home runs (5, T-15th) while also ranking in a tie for fourth with 20 stolen bases.
Harford Men’s Tennis Drops One Match, Hands Williamson 8-1 Decision
BEL AIR, Md.—The Harford men’s tennis team dropped just one match as it downed visiting Williamson Free Trade, 8-1, on Wednesday at Harford Community College. Five players were double-winners on the day for the Fighting Owls (2-2), while Nathan Granja was the only winner for the Mechanics (0-4).
The No. 2 doubles team of sophomore Steve Heagy (Fallston, Md./Fallston) and freshman Marc Donars (Joppa, Md./Harford Tech) started things off with an 8-0 blanking of Jesse Bolt and Matthew Rave, while the No. 1 team of freshman Cory Litka (York, Pa./Aberdeen/East Stroudsburg) and sophomore Josh Meier (Belcamp, Md./Home School) downed Curtis Schoefield and Granja, 8-4. The No. 3 team of freshmen Kevin O’Brien (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) and Walker Bazemore (Churchville, Md./C. Milton Wright) edged Tyler Rodkey and Peter Achuff, 8-6.
Litka, Meier and Bazemore dominated their singles matches with Litka and Meier downing Schoefield and Achuff, 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 1 and No. 2 slots, respectively, while Bazemore blanked John Jewell 6-0 in the first set and notched a 6-1 second set win in the No. 6 singles spot.
The No. 3, 4 and 5 singles matches all went to three sets, with Heagy’s No. 3 bout seeing tiebreakers for each set. Heagy earned a 7-6 (7-2) win in set one, but fell, 7-6 (7-1) in the second set to force a third set tiebreaker, which saw Granja earn the 7-6 (7-4) win.
Donars and O’Brien each dropped their first set, but claimed the next two for the match win, with Donars downing Rodkey, 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) and O’Brien dispatching Bolt, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
The Fighting Owls return to action on Thursday when they travel to MDJUCO-rival Montgomery College-Rockville for a 3:30 p.m. match.
Harford Extends Win Streak to 14; Sweeps Doubleheader from Salem, 10-3, 4-0
BEL AIR, Md.—The Harford baseball team extended its winning streak to 14 by sweeping a doubleheader from Salem, 10-3 and 4-0, on Wednesday at Harford Baseball Field.
Sophomore Jordan Heller (Loch Raven, Md./Loch Raven/Chesapeake) led the Fighting Ows (21-5), going 5-for-6 on the day with two doubles and four RBI, while sophomore Bo Loar (Fallston, Md./Fallston) (4-0) earned his fourth win of the season on the mound. Gabe DeAscanis led the Oaks (1-8), going 3-for-6 with one RBI and one run, while Matt Vrabel tallied the only extra-base hit for Salem, a double in game one.
Harford struck first in game one, thanks to an RBI single from reigning NJCAA Division-II National Player of the Week sophomore Joe Harbach (Abingdon, Md./Edgewood), but Salem would take its only lead of the game with three runs in the third.
Harford made it a one-run game in the bottom of the inning, off a groundout RBI from sophomore Mike Krider (State College, Pa./State College) before batting around the order in a five-run fifth inning and adding three more in the sixth on the way to the 10-3 win.
Sophomore Chris Peacher (Abingdon, Md./Harford Tech) (3-0) earned the win on the hill after lasting five innings and giving up three runs on six hits while striking out three batters.
Game two saw the Owls with an early 1-0 advantage as freshman Alex Riley (Newark, Del./A.I. Dupont/Wesley) led-off the first with a single and advanced to second on an overthrow. Riley stole third on the first pitch of the next at-bat and scored on the Salem catcher’s throwing error.
The Harford bats were nearly silent for the remainder of the game, accounting for just one hit each in the second and third innings, none in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth, but the Owls capitalized on a Oak error in the fourth, which allowed sophomore Woody Wlodarczyk (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) to reach base.
Wlodarczyk stole second and eventually took third on a wild pitch, setting up sophomore Drew Burton (Kingsville, Md./Calvert Hall) to notch the sacrifice fly and give Harford a 2-0 lead.
Heller added to the advantage with an RBI double in the fifth and freshman Christian Wolfe (Bel Air, Md./John Carroll) added the final run in the sixth with a groundout RBI on the way to the 4-0 shutout win.
Loar picked up the win after a solid, one-hit, three strikeout outing over three innings, while freshman Corey Taylor (Fallston, Md./Fallston), Harbach and Heller helped to combine for the shutout with Taylor giving up one hit and striking out one batter in two innings, Harbach allowing just one hit in one inning, and Heller striking out the side in the final inning.
The Fighting Owls return to action on Friday when they travel to Cecil for a 3:00 p.m. game. The game was originally scheduled to be played on Tuesday, but was postponed due to rain. It was also slated to be a home game for Harford, with the away date scheduled for April 22, but the locations have been flipped. Harford will now host Cecil on April 22.