By SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
WAREHAM, MA: Wareham pitcher Drew Harrington has never allowed his play on the baseball diamond to overshadow his faith life off it. The Louisville southpaw sees it at his personal responsibility to set a strong example every time he takes the mound.
“I just try to be a shining light to others,” Harrington said. “I know I’m going to mess up on the field and say stuff and do stuff that I shouldn’t and that the world doesn’t think a typical Christian should do.
“I’m not a perfect example by any means, but if I can share my faith or do something that will help someone in their walk, then that’s great.”
Harrington, a native of Elizabethtown, Ky., grew up in a household in which faith played a central role in family life. In addition to pursuing his dream of becoming a professional ballplayer, Harrington is also chasing another life-long dream of his- that of becoming a pastor.
“I grew up going to church every Sunday,” the Louisville southpaw said. “I’ve always had a pretty good knowledge of theology and enjoyed it, so hopefully, eventually, I’ll be able to go to seminary school and live out my dream of being a pastor.”
While Harrington looks forward to pursuing these two dreams in the long run, he recognizes that conflicts in his baseball schedule might force him to put becoming a pastor on hold for the time being.
“There’s a seminary school about fifteen minutes away from Louisville,” he said. “I wanted to take online classes there, but I had to fill out paperwork to get my credits to transfer over there. We’re still working on that, but I don’t think I’ll be able to get a Master’s until after baseball’s over. That would be almost like having two fulltime jobs.”
For now, the Gatemen will take what they can get on the mound from Harrington. Just days after joining the team, Harrington took the mound in game two of a Sunday doubleheader with the Chatham Anglers at Spillane Field. The Louisville southpaw delivered when the team needed him most, tossing 5.0 innings of one-run ball while allowing only three hits and striking out five Chatham batters. Harrington earned the win in a 7-6 victory for the Gatemen, and allowed Head Coach Cooper Farris to give his bullpen a little extra rest in game two of the twin bill.
“I just wanted to go out and do whatever I could to help the team win,” Harrington said. “I knew coming in that our record wasn’t too great, so I just wanted to help the team in any way that I could.”
Harrington recognized that he had an “up-and-down” freshman season at Louisville, finishing with a 3-2 record and a 4.95 ERA in 21 appearances with the Cardinals. He is excited to work with pitching coach Jim Lawler and assistant Travis Lawler to improve his consistency and performance on the mound.
“They seem to know their stuff,” Harrington said. “They’re helping me with some things that will hopefully make me a better pitcher. I’ll just listen to them for the rest of the summer and see what I can learn.
“Some of it’s just getting innings, but it’s also about just working on locating better and moving the ball in and out and keeping it down at the knees. I’m mainly just trying to get better any way I can.
“I’ve always been my worst enemy and been hard on myself, so I’m just trying to slow the game down a little bit and stay a little more upbeat. If the guy on the hill is showing good body language, then more than likely the other eight guys behind him will do the same.”
The Louisville southpaw is looking forward to spending the next couple months on the Cape and going up against some of the nation’s top players. A veteran of living with host families, Harrington is very comfortable with his living arrangements this summer.
“I actually lived with a host family down in Georgia between my junior and senior years of high school so this is very similar,” Harrington said. “They do the laundry everyday for us, so that’s cool. Anything we need, they’ll get for us. They’re great, so it’s been a good experience.”
Harrington will be relied on in the Wareham bullpen throughout the summer and should see a lot of work for the Gatemen as they move deeper into the season. With his confident and calm presence both on and off the field, Harrington sets an example that many ballplayers would love to emulate. He wouldn’t have it any other way.