Lee University catches Harmon

Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Front row from left are, Kayla Harmon, Patty Harmon, Chandler Harmon and Bob Harmon, who are all smiles as Chandler signs a Letter of Intent to attend Lee University in Cleveland. Back row, MCHS Athletic Director Kevin McGehee, MCHS baseball coaches Jimmy Henson, Mike "Monk" Reese, Colin Henson and Lewisburg's First Assembly of God Youth Pastor Joel Hudson. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

Catcher's tireless dedication pays off with scholarship

Playing the catching position in baseball is a thankless job at times.

Hauling 120 pounds of gear around, donning that heavy protective equipment in the sizzling heat, getting constantly hit with foul balls, and being in charge of making sure the correct pitches are called throughout the games.

They are a rare-breed, and you know one when you see them the first time behind home plate.

Born to catch

Former Marshall County High School catcher Chandler Harmon is one of those players born with the catcher's mitt on his hand.

Harmon's dedication to the position paid off when he recently signed a baseball scholarship offer to attend Lee University in Cleveland.

"It's amazing, I can't explain my feelings right now," said Harmon.

"I am so excited to go to a competitive school and also one that is a Christian school."

Great defender

Harmon batted .341 for the Tigers this season and was one of most feared defensive catchers with his quickness and arm strength.

"Chandler's defensive abilities are terrific. He is extremely competitive and is the type of player who will make any necessary adjustments to compete at the level that the college game demands," said Lee University assistant coach Justin Dedman.

Harmon will join a Lee squad that posted a 39-19-1 overall record and 17-13-1 in the Gulf South Conference in 2014-2015.

Multi-talented

"Chandler is a strong receiver with a very good arm who plays with energy and enthusiasm and he clearly has an attention to detail and loves the game," said Dedman.

"Chandler is humble, yet confident and is eager to grow and learn. He loves being challenged and is the type of young man who will fight for what he believes in."

After many years in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the Flames have been a provisional member of NCAA Division II for three years and will transition full-time next season.

"That was big for me and exciting that Lee is transitioning to the NCAA," said Harmon.

Travel time

Harmon played plenty of travel ball after the conclusion of the prep seasons the last four years, beginning with his freshman summer as a member of the Franklin based Worth Bulldogs.

As a sophomore, Harmon played solely with the Marshall County Dusters Babe Ruth squad and as a junior he split his summer ball between the Dusters and Middle Tennessee Outlaws.

In his senior year, Harmon played extensively with Nashville based Knights National 18U squad.

Former MCHS standout catcher Chandler Harmon batted .341 for the Tigers in his senior season.

Ready for college

"Playing travel ball has allowed me to see better competition and prepare myself for the college scouts," said Harmon.

"I met so many guys I would not have had a chance to play with if not for travel ball and I would not trade those experiences for anything."

Harmon is also a standout in the classroom, sporting a stellar 4.0 GPA.

The next steps

Asked about Chandler's transition to the college game, Dedman said, "Chandler's role will be dictated by his execution in practices and intra-squad opportunities. We brought him to Lee because we believe he will make us a better team."

"There is competition at every position on our field, and Chandler's will be no different. To become a strong catcher in the Gulf South, he will need to commit to consistent and steady improvement as an all-around player and person, and we believe he can do those things."

Future plans

Harmon will study exercise science at Lee and hopes to coach at the collegiate level.

Harmon loved playing for the Tigers and will cherish the days of playing at Joe George Field at Lewisburg.

"Playing at Marshall County has been great," said Harmon.

"Growing up around all these people and playing with all my teammates over the years has been an unforgettable experience."