Sports

Colleges already pitching to Island sophomore

Island baseball pitcher, Harrison Goonewardene, has already heard from college coaches. - Contributed photo
Island baseball pitcher, Harrison Goonewardene, has already heard from college coaches.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Mercer Island sophomore Harrison Goonewardene may not have his driver's license yet, but he knows where he'll be going to college.

A Mercer Island baseball standout, Goonewardene has made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Washington on a baseball scholarship.

Other schools he was considering were  Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State, Gonzaga, Seattle University and Notre Dame.

"I've always dreamed of playing college baseball," Goonewardene said. "I was very excited to find out it would come true."

Goonewardene's father Mike said he was very happy and very surprised. He realized the process would begin, but thought it'd take place over the next couple of years.

"It's been a neat experience, but man, it happened fast," said Mike Goonewardene.

Primarily a right-handed pitcher, Goonewardene also plays infield at third base, shortstop and first base. He's also a skilled batter, who boasted a .580 batting average last year with the freshman team and a .400 average with junior varsity.

Competing with 11 returning seniors last season didn't allow for much varsity time for Goonewardene his freshman year. But that didn't stop him from gaining notice during September's Can Am Futures Showcase Tournament in Tacoma, where he was named All-Tournament co-MVP. Goonewardene was also named to the All Tournament team during August's Junior Northwest Championships in Centralia, an event that featured over 200 of the top players from Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Mercer Island baseball coach Dominic Woody praised Goonewardene's work ethic, while also mentioning he hopes his baseball players are able to apply their baseball goals in life. Woody added the soon-to-be Husky is in good company; there are four former Huskies on the coaching staff, Coach Woody included.

"It's interesting to hear and see what the coaches have to say," said Goonewardene. "They mentioned how good their experience was [at UW] and how good the competition was in the Pac-12."

Goonewardene lists Carlos Beltran as his favorite hitter and Justin Verlander as his favorite pitcher. When asked, he said the player he resembles most is Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, with his pitching motion and pitch selection.

While he is already making college plans, Goonewardene hasn't lost sight of the year ahead of him. He said he hopes to work on his leadership skills, being a good teammate and helping others as he continues to work hard at competing and getting better. And he has high hopes for baseball season this year.

"We have a very good team," Goonewardene said. "We have no reason not to have confidence toward the postseason and competing for the state tournament."

 

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