Profile: Lute steps up to the collegiate diamond

BY DAVID MAIR ’18

On a beautiful spring afternoon, 14 years ago, a dad takes his son out to the backyard to play catch with a baseball, for the very first time. That moment shaped the little 5-years-old’s life. That father inspired the rest of the boy’s life.

Sophomore Drew Harka was that little boy who picked up that ball on that sunny afternoon.

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Sophomore Drew Harka leans back in his chair while studying in Ordal Hall. He is an Environmental Studies Major. PHOTO BY DAVID MAIR ’18

“I like nothing more than catch with my dad,” Harka said.

This year he secured a spot on the Pacific Lutheran University baseball team as the backup third baseman. But for Harka the journey to the team has not been an easy one to say the least.

Last year he tried out with no success.

During that tryout, Harka had just finished  neck surgery, prior to which he had lost all feeling in his arm.

Though he had played his whole life, he did not make it on the team. Harka said he felt frustrated after working extremely hard to get healthy.

Neck surgery barely touches on the list of injuries that Harka has faced during his athletic career.

He has suffered four concussions, two from baseball, one from football and one from jumping into a doorframe. Additionally, he suffered a third degree sprained ankle while playing a pick up basketball game.

When he didn’t make it on the team last year, he still wanted to find a way to keep playing baseball in the hopes of making it  someday.

The following spring he joined an intramural softball team, ‘the Back Door Sliders.’  Gena Powell, sophomore, captained the team.

“He was a great team player. He was one of the people who knew what was going on, on the team,”  Gena Powell, sophomore, said.

With Harka’s long  list of injuries, he has all the reason in the world to stop playing, though he is far from finished.

“You have to find something you love. And I knew it wasn’t my time to be done,” Harka said.

This year’s tryouts offered Harka a second chance at playing college baseball. They lasted over two weeks.

After two weeks he became the new backup third baseman for the Lute’s baseball team. Harka said that making it on the team has not quite hit him yet.

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Sophomore Drew Harka heads to the dugout after a pratice inning during tryouts at PLU’s baseball field. Drew Harka’s favorite baseball team is the Seattle Mariners. PHOTO BY: DAVID MAIR ’18

 

“It felt like another life, redemption. [I’m] happy to be back on the field,” Harka said.

Last year’s  head coach, Geoff Loomis led the baseball team to a 32-14 record. As Harka looks to the season ahead he realizes something, regardless of what the season will bring.

“I want to be the best teammate I can be,” Harka said.



Categories: Community, Other, Profile, Recreation, Sports, Student Life

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