Everything was going well for Joey Harmon in the summer of 2012. He had just transferred to Arcadia High from South Pasadena High and was going to play quarterback and pitch for the Apaches.
But then it happened.
Harmon hurt his right knee during a scrimmage just before the football season started, had ACL reconstructive surgery and did his best to recover.
And recover he did, getting some work in on the mound that spring. But that was last year and this year he’s feeling like his old self.
“I rehabbed for six months,” Harmon said. “At the six-month mark I was cleared to play baseball, but just pitch. So, last year I was used as the closer. I’d throw one or two innings, but I still couldn’t push off my leg.
“My knee feels fine now. It’s pretty much back to where it was.”
The starting quarterback on the team that went 5-5 this past year, Harmon said he’s sticking to baseball.
“I think I realized that I like baseball better,” he said. “I’ve been playing baseball since I was 5 in kindergarten and playing with my dad. I’ve always done travel ball and little league. Baseball’s always been my number one.”
He pitched in relief a year ago, but said he gets to start now, something he is looking forward to.
“I liked the bullpen last year,” Harmon said. “It was fun. It gets the adrenaline rushing, but I like starting because it feels like you have the whole game in your hands.”
Harmon said he’s been clocked in the upper 80s and throws a fastball, curveball and change-up. And if needs to get someone out he goes to the fastball, high and tight.
He is also hoping the team this year can make it far into the postseason.
“I think we have real good team this year,” said Harmon, who is hoping to play baseball at an NCAA Div. I or II school next year. “We have a young team, but I think that some of those nerves and those learning curves we got done through the fall. The last couple weeks we’ve been playing really well. Our goal is to win (the Pacific League championship) and go far into (the CIF) playoffs. My last year and being a senior I’d love to win a CIF championship.”
Harmon also said he is enjoying playing for coach Nick Lemas.
“He’s a hard ass,” Harmon said of Lemas. “He’s old school. He’s not going to B.S. you. He’s not going to tell you you’re better than you are. I learned I got to work hard with him. He’s a really smart baseball coach.”
Lemas said he’s looking forward to a big season from Harmon.
“We really like him,” Lemas said. “He’s worked really hard. Even when he was hurt he was always around. He’s worked hard to get back where he’s at. We think highly of him. We have high expectations for him and I’m sure he has high expectations for himself as well. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do and having him for a full year.”
(Shel Segal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him via Twitter @segallanded.)