Harding Ready For Challenges Ahead At Holy Cross


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Harding Ready For Challenges Ahead At Holy Cross

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Will Harding

Class of 2022 / OF

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2022
  • Primary Position: OF
    Secondary Position: OF
  • High School: Walsh Jesuit
    State: OH
  • Summer Team: Lake Erie Warhawks Abrahamowicz
  • Height: 6-3
    Weight: 210lbs
  • Bat/Throw: R/R

Statistics

Position
6.65
60-yard
(02/14/21)
77
INF Velo
85
OF Velo
(02/14/21)
97
Exit Velo
(02/14/21)
Position
60-yard
6.65
OF Velo
85
Exit Velo
97
Position
60-yard
7.18
OF Velo
83
Exit Velo
87
Position
60-yard
6.94
OF Velo
83
Exit Velo
85
Trackman - Hitting
96.86
Exit Speed (max)
(02/14/21)
92.96
Exit Speed (avg)
(07/21/20)
208
Distance (avg)
(07/21/20)
327
Distance (max)
(02/14/21)
Trackman - Hitting
Exit Speed (max)
96.86
Exit Speed (avg)
90.7
Distance (avg)
181
Distance (max)
327
Ground Ball %
Line Drive %
Fly Ball %
Hard Hit %
Trackman - Hitting
Exit Speed (max)
96.52
Exit Speed (avg)
92.96
Distance (avg)
208
Distance (max)
312
Ground Ball %
Line Drive %
Fly Ball %
Hard Hit %
Blast - Hitting
28.20
Hand Speed (max)
(02/14/21)
26.28
Hand Speed (avg)
(02/14/21)
76.50
Bat Speed (max)
(07/21/20)
74.38
Bat Speed (avg)
(07/21/20)
Blast - Hitting
Hand Speed (max)
28.2
Hand Speed (avg)
26.28
Bat Speed (max)
74.9
Bat Speed (avg)
73.24
Rot. Acc (max)
Rot. Acc (avg)
On Plane Eff %
Blast - Hitting
Hand Speed (max)
25.2
Hand Speed (avg)
24.37
Bat Speed (max)
76.5
Bat Speed (avg)
74.38
Rot. Acc (max)
Rot. Acc (avg)
On Plane Eff %

Harding Ready For Challenges Ahead At Holy Cross

AKRON - Unlike many boys in their youth, Will Harding did not grow up dreaming about playing college baseball. It only materialized in the last few years.

“I never thought about it too much,” Harding admitted. “I was playing just for fun.”

While the Walsh Jesuit senior is still having fun, the opportunity to participate at the next level has become a reality with a commitment to Holy Cross.

“When I became a freshman I was getting bigger and stronger and coaches started talking to me about college baseball being a possibility,” Harding related. “Toward the end of my sophomore year and throughout my junior year I started developing my skills better and getting more attention from colleges.

After that it became more realistic that I was going to play college baseball.”

The sixth-rated 2022 outfielder in Ohio credited a club team coach with putting him on the map at Holy Cross.

“He had coached with one of their coaches and gave them a recommendation,” explained Harding, who plays with the Lake Erie Warhawks. “I sent them video and they said they wanted to see me play in the summer.”

An academic showcase in late June proved to be valuable in that regard.

“I ran well and hit well and they said if you’re in the Boston area stop by and come on a tour,” Harding reflected. “I was in the area 20 days later looking at schools so I went there. They showed me around and gave me an offer. A week later I accepted.”

The college choice came down to Holy Cross and Harvard, a school Harding also came away impressed with on a visit.

“Holy Cross had a good view of me as a player,” Harding reasoned about his decision. “They had a vision of me going there. I had really good communication with their staff and when I committed they were so happy.”

Academics also played a major role in making Holy Cross his future home.

“I really like the academic side of the school,” noted Harding, who has a 4.2 GPA and is likely to major in business in college. “I knew I wanted to go out of state at a high academic school.”

The 56th-ranked senior in the state understands the challenges ahead playing baseball and going to a college like Holy Cross.

“That’s something I talked to them about,” Harding pointed out. “I worried about making a big commitment to baseball year ‘round and how it would work and they explained I’d only miss three classes all year. They said 25 percent of students there are athletes so they’re used to working with that. It made me not so stressed out looking at academics.”

As for the baseball side, the 6-3 210-pounder looks forward to showing off his game at the Patriot League school.

“I’ve shortened my swing and take less of a stride now and that’s made it easier to put balls in play,” noted Harding, whose interest in the baseball program was enhanced by what he called “a new athletic facility that’s state of the art, the best I’ve ever seen.”

Additional improvement has also taken place by the soon-to-be 18-year-old.

“I’ve gotten better defensively,” Harding said. “I’m getting better reads in the outfield and taking better angles. I’m also using my speed better.”

More improvement is on the horizon.

“Arm strength is not a weakness but if I work at it, it can make me a better player,” Harding said.

Holy Cross likes what they see in Harding now.

“I’m a big bat, but I can move,” Harding related. “They like that I’m versatile, I can hit for power and average and hit to all sides of the field. They like my communication in the outfield and how I hustle offensively and defensively.”

Versatility is an area of the game Harding believes he can bring to benefit Holy Cross.

“When I expand on my short game I’ll be able to do so much for them and be a tough out,” Harding noted. “Off the field, Holy Cross does a lot for the community and I think that’s cool. I want to see what I can do.”

The recruiting process coming to an end brings a sense of joy to Harding, who is looked at as a right fielder or center fielder by Holy Cross.

“It was long and tough at first,” Harding said of his recruitment. “I had a lot of phone calls but not too much from there when Covid shut stuff down. The big change came when I could go out and colleges could come see me play. The coaches at Lake Erie were super big in the process. Their connections made the process easier for me.

“Now that it’s over, it’s a huge weight off my shoulders,” Harding concluded. “I could go back to having fun playing baseball. It feels awesome with a lot less pressure.”


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(2/14/21)

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