This article was originally published in the Pasadena Independent.
There’s something magical about the number 37 for Amaris Harrison. The senior second baseman for Muir’s varsity baseball squad led the team with 37 hits, 37 runs and 37 stolen bases last season.
Harrison led Muir to an 18-8 record last year and helped the school end a 30 year playoff drought. Muir played three games in the postseason, including a wild card berth, losing in the second round.
“It was a tough season. There were a lot of ups and downs. It was like a roller coaster almost,” Harrison said. “There were a lot of family problems throughout the whole team, but we rebounded from that and finished off strong. We needed a lot of luck to get into the playoffs, but we made it and that’s all we care about.”
Harrison said he and his fellow seniors worked hard to change the baseball culture at Muir, from a struggling program to a winning one.
“It’s been good, just a little different, being the under dog. I’ve played for a lot of winning teams so coming into Muir my freshman year was different,” Harrison said. “The team is going to be young this year, but with the few seniors we have, we plan on teaching them how we played over the past few years. We want them to get that same mentality and we’re hoping to make the playoffs again this year.”
A big incentive to succeed on the field looms in the hallways of Muir in the form of Jackie Robinson, one of the most famous baseball players and athletes of all time, the man who broke the color barrier in professional baseball and changed sports culture forever.
“He inspires me a lot,” Harrison said. “It’s a really good feeling to go to his school. He’s up in the hallways and we have his number up on our scoreboard. It’s good because it gives us something to prove everyday. It’s a lot on our back, but we’ve learned to play with it and it’s a nice feeling.”
While his team goal is to get Muir back to the playoffs and hopefully grab a title, Harrison has some lofty personal goals as well.
“Last year I had 37 hits, 37 runs and 37 stolen bases. This year I want to have 50 hits, 50 runs and 50 stolen bases,” Harrison said. “I want to be better each year than I was the year before.”
While 37 hits might not sound like much to the average baseball fan, it is important to remember that the high school schedule is about one-seventh of the professional schedule. Harrison’s 37 hits translated to a .457 BA, a .564 OBP and a 1.083 OPS, all team highs and seriously high stats.
Harrison has grown into the player he is today after 13 years of practice through little league, club, and now his fourth year on varsity. He plans to continue to play ball in college, although he isn’t sure where at yet. He does know he wants to stay in Southern California to keep close to family.
After college, Harrison aims to play professional baseball, maybe for the Atlanta Braves, his favorite team. He compared his play to Ozzie Albies, the Braves’ second baseman who has a similar stature at 5-foot-8. However, after some reflection, Harrison changed his answer.
“My all time favorite player from the past that I see in myself is Adonis Harrison. He was a very flashy infielder that hits left-handed and throws right-handed just like me and displayed excitement to the crowd,” Harrison said. “I’m hoping to be like him one day.”