Harting’s bat comes alive for productive, dominant season
Rahul Parikh | Sports Editor
When Cole Harting stepped up to the plate and launched a fastball over the left field fence at the University of Cincinnati’s Marge Schott baseball stadium on April 22nd in a 3-1 win over Fairfield, you couldn’t blame him as he rounded third and headed for home if he was thinking that this was a little foreshadowing of things to come.
The junior centerfielder and University of Cincinnati commit is currently having a stand-out year.
He is batting at .406 with a Greater Miami Conference (GMC) leading 7 home runs to go along with 24 Runs Batted In (R.B.I’s), a walk off home run, and 12 stolen bases to propel the Comets to a league leading 18-3 record.
Harting attributes a majority of his offensive success so far to moving up to the leadoff batting spot, from the middle of the lineup.
Harting said the switch in the lineup has allowed him to hit with more confidence and yield better opportunities.
“It feels great being able to produce for my team at this level right now ; With moving to the leadoff spot, I’ve definitely seen a lot more hittable pitches which has allowed me to drive the ball more,” Harting said. “I see a lot more first pitch fastballs now because pitchers don’t want to make any big mistakes early, and that’s allowed me to be more aggressive.”
For Harting, the dominating production and home runs this season are no surprise.
Harting said this offseason he worked hard with his coach on changing his swing in order to utilize more power, and it’s paid off.
“During the offseason, I changed my swing because my coach saw I wasn’t using all my potential power,” Harting said. “ We worked really hard on getting my back hip through the ball which has been working well to help me drive them out of the park.”
Hitting the home run at UC this season was an experience Harting could definitely get used to. He said the emotions that came with sending one out of the park at his future home were ones he’ll never forget.
“That was such a cool moment for me, the atmosphere was amazing, and hopefully it’s a foreshadow of what’s to come later on,” Harting said. “Getting a hit like that with all my teammates there, and my mom and dad in the stands, it was definitely a great moment.”
One of Harting’s biggest factors in his
success has been his cheering section in the stands. Harting said not only his parents, but his grandparents have not missed one of his games in years which motivates him even more to play well in every game.
“My grandparents have been coming to all my games since I was like nine and I can always hear them cheering me on,” Harting said. “I really appreciate them always being there for me and getting to show out for them every game. It’s been awesome to have my family by my side throughout my journey to what I am now.”
There’s been no shortage of electrifying moments for Harting this season, from his home run at UC to arguably the biggest moment of the Comet’s season — a two run walk – off home run against Lakota West to keep Mason atop the GMC. Every young baseball player’s dream is to hit that walk off home run, and Harting said that doing it in such a huge game made the moment all the more special.
“This was such a big game for us, we really wanted to come out and get it because we knew Lakota West still had to play Lakota East and anything could happen in that game,” Harting said. “We worked our way out of a hole in the 7th inning through a nice job by Evan Kemp, and when I got up to bat with the game tied I knew I just had to put the ball in the gap and get on base. Fortunately, I got a low fastball and put a great swing on the ball, and it got up and over the fence. It was such an incredible moment and I’ll never forget it.”
Being an upperclassmen this year and a returning varsity member, Harting was elected team captain this season. Harting was tasked with stepping into a bigger leadership role and preparing the younger players for the future of the team.
Harting said that with the heavy amount of seniors on this years team, the coming years team will be a lot younger and he’s prepared to mentor this year’s squad through leading by example.
“I knew I was going to have to step up as a leader being team captain this season,” Harting said. “I’m not the most vocal guy in the dugout, but I always lead by example and do what’s right on and around the field. Whether it be hustling down the baseline or instilling confidence in your teammates, I always try and make the right decisions for the good of the team.”
Photo by Mia Sweitzer.