RACINE, Ohio —In the midst of a phenomenal senior season, this Tornado took time to secure his future.
On April 23 at Southern High School, senior Billy Harmon signed his National Letter of Intent to join the Patrick Henry Community College baseball team next season.
Harmon — a four-year starter behind the plate for the Tornadoes — talked about being able to continue his baseball career, and the difficulty in choosing the Martinsville, Virginia-based school.
“I’ve grown a huge attachment to baseball, and being able to move on to the next level really means something to me,” Harmon said. “It was kinda hard to decide on this college. Ever since my freshman year, my goal was to go to Bluffton and play. I wasn’t sure if I was at a D-1 or D-2 level, and they’re a good D-3 school. I went to all of their camps, and they helped progress me. All of a sudden, someone I played with down in Fairmont went to Patrick Henry, they needed a catcher and it went from there.”
In his four seasons with the Purple and Gold, Harmon has helped the club to a 56-31 record and a pair of sectional championships. This past spring, Harmon helped the Tornadoes end five-year district title drought, shutting out Green 10-0 in the district semifinal before blanking Clay 8-0 in the Round of 32.
A career .361 hitter, Harmon has belted out 89 hits over four seasons, with 79 runs scored and 51 runs batted in. Harmon has also been walked 48 times in four years, making for a career on-base percentage .463.
Harmon credited his high school team and coaches for helping to prepare him to take the next step in his baseball journey.
“I don’t think the competition will be the same in college, but I definitely think my high school team helped me get ready for it,” Harmon said. “The people here have pushed me, no matter what our competition, and supported me all the way through. Coach (Kyle) Wickline has done everything he could to make sure I’m staying healthy and playing my best. Coach (Keith) Carroll, he keeps pushing me and helps me keep my head on my shoulders a little bit better.”
Harmon was named to the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division first team three times in his career, and was selected as the league’s Offensive Most Valuable Player as a senior. After landing on the all-district second team as a junior, Harmon moved up to the first team and was named Division IV Player of the Year as a senior.
In his final campaign with the Purple and Gold, Harmon had offensive career-highs across the board, with a .469 batting average, 38 hits, 35 RBIs, 29 runs, 19 walks and a .568 on-base percentage. Harmon also appeared in 10 games as a pitcher this past spring, earning a 5-1 record with 64 strikeouts and a a 1.46 earned-run average.
Fourth-year SHS head coach Kyle Wickline — the 2019 TVC Hocking and Southeast District Division IV Coach of the Year — noted that the Patriots are not only getting a good baseball player, but a good person and a leader.
“He’s been a very good catcher throughout the years, and he’s gotten better,” Wickline said. “All of his skills, his catching position, his offensive numbers, they’ve all gotten a lot better. He’s a very good leader. They’re getting a very good baseball player, but they’re also getting a really good person, very good in the classroom and in the community. He’s all about baseball and the program, and he always has been. He’s put a lot of time into it and deserves the opportunity to go to the next level and prove that he can play.”
The Patriots — who play their home games at Hooker Field in Martinsville — are an NJCAA school that competes in the Carolinas-Virginia Conference. Patrick Henry is a two-year school, where Harmon hopes to get his general courses out of the way en route to an eventual engineering degree.
Harmon held a 4.02 weighted GPA at Southern, where he graduated in the top-10 of the class.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.