It took a little longer than he had hoped, but Butte Miners catcher Ty Harney will get to take his game to the college level.
Harney, 19, signed to play for Dawson Community College in Glendive. He signed the deal, which includes a scholarship, last week.
“I didn’t want to be done playing baseball,” Harney said. “This is a great opportunity, and I’m excited about it.”
The signing comes one year after a lost season for the Butte Miners.
The Butte club wasn’t allowed in the Southern A District in 2013 because the Butte high schools had a few too many students. The Miners played a conference schedule, but their league games didn’t count in the standings.
The Miners weren’t allowed to play in the District tournament. Also, the Butte players were inexplicably not eligible for post season honors.
After not hearing from college coaches, Harney, a 2013 Butte High graduate, went to Montana Tech for the school year. He also got ready for his fifth, and last season of Legion baseball.
This season, the Miners were allowed to play league games, and Harney caught the eye of Dawson coach Aaron Carroll.
“I came back this year to hopefully get looked at by somebody,” Harney said. “It worked out.”
Harney’s batting average wasn’t among the team leaders this season. He hit .175 in the regular season for the Miners.
Of course, a high batting average is typically far down on the to-do list for catchers.
“I was talking to (Miners assistant coach) Jason Mattila and he said you don’t see many catchers with high batting averages in MLB,” Harney said. “They’re always down in the order.”
Harney, though, did have a knack for getting on base. He drew 17 walks in 37 games, and his on-base percentage was .376. during the regular season.
“I had a lot of walks and beans this year,” Harney said.
Behind the plate, Harney posted a .974 fielding percentage. That ranked third on the team, even though he arguably played the toughest position. He threw out nine would-be base stealers.
Harney said one of this strengths is calling pitches.
“Mattila calls the pitches, but if I think we should call something different he lets me,” Harney said. “If we’re up a few runs, he usually lets me call them.
“I like calling the game,” Harney said. “Half those kids I’ve been playing against my whole Legion career. I know what kids can’t hit the curve ball.”
Harney logged 47 and a third innings pitching for the Miners. He was on the bump during what was probably the biggest win of the season for the Miners, a late-season win at first-place Gallatin Valley.
He also had a big game against the Class AA Kalispell team. He pitched the first nine innings in Butte’s 10-inning loss to the Dillon Cubs in the opening game of the District tournament.
As a pitcher, Harney ended the season with 1-0 record and a 3.51 ERA. He struck out 30 and walked 29.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Harney said of his success on the hill. “I knew I could throw strikes. I don’t throw hard, but my curve ball was working.”
Harney, who said he will study physical education or law enforcement when he leaves town later this month, will continue his career behind the plate.
“It does take a beating on your knees,” Harney said of catching, “but that’s what ice is for.”
The Buccaneers will begin fall ball in September before starting the regular season in February.
Harney said his goal is to turn his two years at Dawson into an opportunity at a four-year school.
“Hopefully,” he said of continuing his career after Dawson. “There’s no way I want to be done playing baseball.” 2 comments