By, Brandon Rebboah
Note: Summer and baseball have always seemed to fit together perfectly. For fans of the game, summer is a time to enjoy the sights, sounds and atmosphere of America's pastime, but for college baseball players, it is a time for development. College players across the country, including members of the Santa Clara baseball squad, have already left for their summer experiences just weeks after finals as they begin preparation for the 2013 season.
After a much-improved 2012 campaign on the Mission Campus, Bronco ball players now occupy rosters throughout the nation in summer leagues that are helping them grow as players. Santa Clara is represented in nine different leagues from the Bay Area to New England, while others play for independent teams. The "All Summer Long" series, in its second season, will chronicle the Broncos as they play in various summer leagues nationwide, and in Canada as well.
FRESNO, Calif. – After a breakout season on the Mission Campus, Greg Harisis is spending his summer playing for the Fresno Cardinals of the Pacific West Baseball League (PWBL) and aiming to add to his 2012 success.
After appearing in only 11 games during his freshman season, primarily as a pinch runner and defensive replacement, Harisis was one of the most improved Broncos in 2012 under first-year head coach Dan O'Brien. Harisis played in 40 contests, started 31 games, hit his first career homerun and earned a spot on the All-West Coast Conference First Team. The Bronco utility man, who saw significant time at second base and right field, led the team with a .398 average during his sophomore year.
The PWBL is a 10-team wood bat league including nine in California and one in Nevada. Some of the PWBL teams also schedule bouts with teams from the California Collegiate League, Far West League, West Coast League and SoCal Collegiate Baseball League.
Even after an impressive offensive year, the soon-to-be junior is using his time with the Cardinals to clean up his swing. So far, the work is paying off for Harisis. Through 12 games with Fresno, the All-WCC selection is hitting .444, including a double, triple and homerun. He's also shown patience at the plate posting a .615 on-base percentage that include 12 walks.
The current Bronco is getting the traditional summer baseball experiences that mirror professional minor league baseball. He lives with a host family and travels with his team throughout California.
"I'm enjoying my stay in Fresno so far," said Harisis. "I have a great host family who is very supportive and treats me just as well as their son (who is also on the team). It's been fun meeting new people and starting to make bonds with guys who also share a passion for baseball."
Harisis and the rest of the Fresno Cardinals continue their summer schedule with a non-league game against the San Luis Obispo Rattlers on July 9. Harisis will square off against Bronco teammates Stephen Takahashi and Chris Heckert, who both are on the Rattlers' roster.