Tooele senior outfielder Dalton Harris has been seeking a way to continue his baseball career beyond high school, and on Monday night, he announced that he was able to find the treasure
Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Oregon, is where Harris will have his opportunity, and the Chukars’ future starting center fielder made it official in front of friends, family, coaches and other well-wishers as he signed his national Letter-of-Intent in the Tooele High School commons area.
“They’re a good program and they’re pretty close to home — not too far,” Harris said. “I really liked the coaches when I went up there and all the players. This is what I’ve been working for ever since I started playing baseball. I wanted to play professional baseball and as I got older, I knew I had to take it one (step) at a time. I wanted to play in college and realized that you’ve got to be way good to play professionally.”
Harris is in the midst of a resurgent senior season for the Buffaloes, who opened Region 11 play on a nine-game winning streak and currently sit atop the region standings. He has an impressive .449 batting average with six doubles, a triple, two home runs, 11 RBIs and 16 runs — all of which are career-highs with eight region games remaining on the schedule. He also has seven stolen bases and is error-free this season in the outfield.
None of that comes as a surprise to Tooele baseball coach Nolan Stouder, who recalled being impressed by Harris’ talent the first time he saw him in an offseason open-gym workout prior to his sophomore season.
“He’s earned everything he’s gotten — the scholarship and the chance to play at the next level, and to be on our field every day and start for us,” Stouder said. “I think he’s put in day-in, day-out, non-stop work. To see what he’s been able to do this year — it’s impressive. He has that talent and he can put up numbers.”
Harris had to endure a difficult junior season in which he hit .225. As a sophomore, he hit .324 and stole 14 bases.
Harris said Stouder, a former Division I college baseball player himself, has helped inspire him as he prepares to take the next step.
“He played at Utah and kind of prepared me for what it would take to play at the next level,” Harris said. “It’s helped me a lot.”
Harris plans to study accounting at Treasure Valley for the next two years before transferring to a four-year school — in Utah, he hopes — to continue his education and baseball career.
“Me, my dad and my stepdad and all of my coaches have gone to the gym every day since I was 12 and hit and threw,” Harris said. “It has been a lot of hard work.”
Harris is the third Tooele baseball player from his senior class to sign a national Letter-of-Intent. Jaxson Miner and Payton Shields will be playing at Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington, next season, and Stouder hopes there are more to come.
“I want to take the kids who have the talent and want to move on and push them and try to help them get whatever opportunity they can after high school,” Stouder said. “Three (signees) this year has been impressive, but my goal is to get double that in the years to come. It’s all about getting kids to move on (to college) if that’s what they want.”