Haurez signs with Spalding University
Marshall County High School’s ace righty Hunter Haurez’ pursuit of his boyhood dream took a giant leap forward last week when he signed a Letter of Intent to attend Spalding University at Louisville, Kentucky on a baseball scholarship next season.
“It feels amazing, I’ve been working hard for this,” Huarez said. “My goal was to be able to play baseball longer and I’ve got that done, so it feels great.”
Huarez, who will be a four-year letterman when the prep baseball season opens for official practice on February 10 had an outstanding 2017-2018 season for the Tigers, posting a 6-1 record with a stellar 1.12 earned run average.
“You have certain guys that can go to the next level and you have young men that want to go achieve things at that level of baseball and Hunter is one of those guys,” MCHS head coach Mike “Monk” Reese said. “This couldn’t happen to a finer young man and we are excited for him and his family.”
Huarez also picked up one save as he pitched 43 innings for Lewisburg, striking out 46 and walking 17 batters last season as the Tigers went 16-10 and had a 6-4 District 12-AA record, good enough for a third-place finish in the regular season.
Huarez kicked off the 2017-2018 in style, tossing a season-opening no-hitter over Community on March 13.
“Hunter has three pitches and he has mastered all three of them pretty good,” Reese said. “His fastball is not going to light up the radar gun, but what it is going to do is set up his other two pitches.”
“He has a big looping breaking ball that can give hitters fits and he also throws a tremendous changeup. He has great control and when he gets on the mound, it’s kind of like a little light goes on when he pulls that cap down and he is ready to go to work and he is a competitor.”
After beating Community in the first round of the district tournament, Marshall County lost to Giles County before suffering a season-ending loss to intra-county rival Forrest.
Haurez will join a Spalding University club that has recorded back-to-back SLIAC tournament appearances under Golden Eagles’ head coach Matt Downs.
“I like the big city (Louisville) and the baseball team is good,” Huarez said. “They were ranked 12th in the nation last year and they have had a couple guys go pro, so I think it is a good fit for me.”
Spalding University is an NCAA Division III team and plays in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference along with Blackburn College (IL), Eureka College (IL), Fontbonne University (MO), Greeneville University (IL), Iowa Wesleyan University, MacMurray College (IL), Principia College (IL), Webster University (MO), and Westminster College (MO).
Huarez will see at least one familiar face when he joins the Golden Eagles next year as former Forrest shortstop Jaylen Smith is a freshman player at Spalding this season.
“We have talked a little bit,” Huarez said. “I played with Jaylen in Babe Ruth, so it’s another reason why it will be good to play there, having someone I know.”
The three-time state champion Tigers (1983, 1993, 94) have struggled in recent years in the postseason.
Their last big tournament run came in 2013 when the Tigers finished with a 22-11 record and a 13-3 district mark, only good enough for second place behind a stout Spring Hill squad that posted a 27-10, 14-2 record and made it all the way to the Class 2A state title game where they lost to Goodpasture.
The Tigers finished as runner-ups to the Raiders in both the district and region tournaments.
“I can relax a little bit now that I have signed, but I want to win this year,” Huarez said. “I’m ready to get in there and I think we have the team this year to do a lot better than what we have done the last couple of years.”
Marshall County’s last outright district crowns came the year before in 2012 when they captured the regular season and tournament titles before stumbling with a season-ending first round loss in the Region 6-AA Tournament to Montgomery Central.
“We feel like by the time we open up, we will compete for that district title,” Reese said. “We have been working hard in the offseason and the guys just have to believe that we can do it and they can do it, so we are just excited about getting out there and competing for that spot.”
The Tigers’ last state tournament appearance was in 2007 when they won the region tournament title over Giles County and beat Bolivar 1-0 in the state sectional contest before going 2-2 at the Spring Fling.
Haurez has honed his skills on the travel circuit with the Columbia based Stingrays, the Middle Tennessee Outlaws, and for Columbia American Legion Post 19.
Huarez talked about playing with the talented Post 19 squad saying, “It was amazing playing for Post 19 and I can play for them for two more years, so I hope I get to keep on playing for them in the summer.”
Huarez, who sports an impressive 3.8 G.P.A is going to study high school education and become a social studies teacher and maybe come back and coach for his hometown Tigers someday.
“I can’t talk enough about him as a fine young man and that comes from his family,” Reese said. “As a coach, you’re not only losing a great player, you’re losing a great family.”