When Hunter Harvey takes the mound these days, 20 to 25 professional baseball scouts are usually on hand to watch the Bandys senior pitch, according to Trojans’ coach Frank Porter.While Harvey is focused on finishing his Bandys baseball career with a bang, he also hopes to make the immediate jump from high school to the professional ranks this June, when Major League Baseball holds its annual first-year draft.“I really just want to go straight to playing (professional) baseball and not have to play college ball,” Harvey said. “I just want to play baseball, and I feel lucky I’m ready.”While 18-year old high school students may not really know exactly what they are getting into, Harvey is not only considered one of the top 50 prep prospects in the country and top 150 overall by mlbprospects.com, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound right-hander also has the family pedigree to match it.If Harvey is drafted this June, he will be the third person is his immediate family to be play professional baseball. His father, Bryan Harvey, also a Bandys’ grad, played 10 seasons for the California Angels and Florida Marlins, collecting 177 saves and 448 strikeouts while making two all-star teams.Meanwhile, Hunter’s old brother, Kris, was drafted out of Bandys High in 2002 by the Atlanta Braves, before he decided to go to play college baseball at Clemson University. Then, Kris was picked again in the second round of the 2005 Amateur Draft by the Florida Marlins. Since then, Kris has been in the minors, with his most recent stint coming with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization in Altoona, Pa.While Hunter’s family name was well known in the area, he has made his own name on the diamond with a fastball that already gets in the mid-90s mph range as well as a nasty curve in upper 70s and change-up in the low 80s. That talent has all come together at Bandys, where he hit .539 with two home runs and 21 RBI last year, while also going 7-0 on the mound with a 1.81 earned-run average to earn Catawba Valley Athletic conference player of the year.Harvey was also the starting pitcher for the National team in the 2012 Under Armour All-American game at the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field last August.“My dad really taught me everything about the game, and his knowledge has really put me over the top,” said Harvey, who started playing T-ball when he was only two years old. “Of course, my brother has also helped me a lot; getting to watch him play and learn from him has made me a much better player.”Porter says he sees the influences in Hunter’s game every day.“Hunter’s game has tons of family influence; you can tell he has learned a lot from his father and brother,” Porter said. “But the Harvey family has been really good to the entire Bandys community. They help train a lot of the kids on the fundamentals of playing baseball at their facility,” a company called Diamond Dream Design.While Harvey is excited about his future, the family atmosphere and history at Bandys High has him hoping he can help write one more championship chapter on a Trojan team that includes eight seniors.Harvey, who plays shortstop when he isn’t on the mound, has a lot of help from his teammates and classmates including left-handed pitcher Hayden Deal, catcher Jackson Gilliam, first baseman Holden Pender and second baseman/utility fielder Hunter Rudisill. Juniors Seth Hubbard, a centerfielder, and Logan Beegle (left field and closer) will also big keys to this team’s success, according to Porter.The current senior class started at Bandys four years ago, the same season Porter took the Trojans’ varsity head coaching job.“This whole senior class is a special group for me since we’ve kind of grown up together the last four years,” Porter said. “We write our goals down at the beginning of the season. Our first goal is always to the win the CVAC conference title. Of course, we want to win the (2A) state championship and have the pitching and talent to do it. But we have to take this season one step at a time.”For a team with championship ambitions Bandys (3-4, 2-1) has had mixed results against a tough nonconference schedule. But with a talented roster, including Harvey (2-0 on the mound, hitting .391), Deal (1-1 on mound, hitting .348) and the others, this team is going to be hard to beat.“I think we’ve have a great team, but we have to go out and prove it,” Harvey said. “Hopefully, we can go all the way to states and finish this off with a (state) title.” This story went to print before the Bandys-South Iredell game March. 22, when Hunter Harvey was the starting pitcher.
Monday, Mar. 25, 2013
Bandys pitcher draws interest from pro scouts
Bandys pitcher Hunter Harvey plans to go pro after high school. COURTESY OF FRANK PORTER