You never would have known Jared Haran hadn’t played baseball in nearly two years.
The first baseman and pitcher for the Butte Miners picked up the game like he never left when he joined the Butte Miners for the 2014 season.
Haran hit a team-leading .472 on the season for the Miners, opening eyes around the state. He hit nine doubles and a triple, while driving in 33 runs in 35 games. His .552 on-base percentage also led the team.
“It really surprised me that I hit well,” Haran said. “I thought I’d struggle. I struggled the first couple of days, then I got into a grove and started hitting well.”
That grove helped lead Haran to college baseball. He signed with Dawson Community College in Glendive on Tuesday.
“I was really excited when I signed,” Haran said. “I like playing baseball, and I’d do anything to play more of it.”
Haran, who pitched 14 innings with a 5.70 ERA last season, said he will play whichever position he’s asked at Dawson. Since he’s a lefty that means pitcher, first base or the outfield.
“I want to pitch and play first, but I’m willing to play the outfield,” he said.
Haran, who has appeared in all seven of the Butte Miners’ games this season and is batting .333, said taking time away from the game helped him realize his love for baseball.
“I kind of got out of it,” Haran said. “When I wasn’t playing I realized I needed something to do.”
Haran is a senior at Butte High school. He will be eligible to return to Butte to play for the Miners again in 2016, after his freshman season at the two-year school in Glendive. That means Haran will be able to play in the new Butte American Legion ballpark, which is expected to be complete sometime next summer.
“That should be cool,” Haran said.
Haran’s interest in playing at Dawson was piqued by Miners teammate Nate LeProwse, the son of Butte head coach Jeff LeProwse. The younger LeProwse is also considering signing with the Buccaneers, and he took a recruiting trip to Glendive a couple of weeks ago.
“I couldn’t go with him,” Haran said. “So I asked him to mention my name to the coach.”
Then, Haran’s aunt, Patty Olson, offered to make the 6-hour trip with him to check out the school.
“I like the campus over there,” Haran said. It’s a nice small town.”
So, Haran, who lives with his grandparents Joan and Kerry Eisenbarth in Butte, signed to play in Glendive, where he is hoping to open some eyes and eventually sign with a four-year school or get drafted in the Major League Baseball draft.
“That’s been a dream of mine to get drafted,” Haran said.
Haran and the Miners are 3-4 on the season. They’ll play their home opener Sunday against the Helena Senators at Copper Mountain Park.