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Whitney softball sensation heads for Humboldt

USA International seeks Harris for Italy games
By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald Sports Editor
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Rocklin native and Whitney High School student/athlete Darian Harris has a busy year ahead. Besides completing her senior softball season this spring with the Wildcats, she’s been invited to play in Italy this summer, and then return to become a member of the Humboldt State softball team. As a junior, the left-handed catcher/outfielder didn’t miss a game in helping the Wildcats take the Capital Athletic League crown with a 10-0 record. The club swept into the Sac-Joaquin Section championship game before falling to Rodriguez; the ‘Cats finished the season 25-7. Harris said she believes Whitney softball will do even better this year, in spite of graduating five seniors “I think we definitely have the fire power,” Harris said, “and we’ll do better and win sections.” Harris hit at a .408 clip, with a .474 on-base percentage. Her slugging percentage was .653, with 32 runs-batted-in and 33 runs scored. Harris’s fielding percentage was .996. For her performance she was named to the CAL all-league first team, and earned honorable mention in the All Metro selections. She was also named Whitney’s Best Offensive Player last year. “She’s our catcher of the future for us,” said Humboldt State softball head coach Frank Cheek of Harris in a statement to the press. “She’s a good hitter and bats left-handed so it gives her an advantage to get on base.” Almost before the ink dried on her acceptance of a full-ride scholarship to play for the ‘Jacks, she received a letter from the USA Athletes International organization inviting her to join its team in Italy this summer. The USAAI has asked her to play with its 14-member USA squad and compete in the 2012 Tuscany Tournament, Grosseto, Italy, July 22-31. The letter emphasized it was an invite to play, and not for tryouts. The team will be coached by Indiana University-Southeast’s Mike Nally. However, traveling to Europe isn’t an all-expenses-paid trip. Harris said she is working on some fundraising ideas to help her raise the extra money. If she’s able to make the trip, she’ll return with just enough time to get ready for her next venue – Humboldt State. She’s a bit apprehensive about leaving home for an extended period of time, but also can’t help but feel excited about it. “I have mixed feelings,” said Harris. “I think (the campus) is as beautiful thing as I’ve ever seen. It’s just so green. I’m excited to go because it’s a dream.” The Whitney High Wildcats are coached by April Tursky-Steele, a Humboldt State Lumberjack Hall of Fame inductee.