Pikeville signs Chesy#8217;s Harris

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

CHESAPEAKE — Kersten Harris is used to handcuffing opposing batters. He’s hoping to handcuff a different opponent in the future.

Attracted by a strong criminal justice program at Pikeville (Ky.) College, the Chesapeake Panthers senior baseball standout signed a letter-of-intent to play with the Bears.

Harris chose Pikeville over several schools such as Shawnee State, Ohio Dominican, Rio Grande, West Virginia Tech, and Tiffin which wanted the Panthers fullback to play football.

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“I talked to several schools, but I canceled some because they didn’t have a criminal justice program and that’s what I was looking for,” said Harris.

A conversation with a Pikeville professor was the deciding factor in Harris’ decision to join the Bears program.

“The professor said he had a lot of ties with federal jobs and federal marshals. He said he’d help me out,” said Harris.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Harris plays shortstop and is the team’s top pitcher. Harris throws in the 80-plus miles per hour range and has less than 10 strikeouts in only one start this season.

Harris expects to play a similar role for the Bears.

“They want me to pitch or play shortstop. It doesn’t matter to me. I just want to come in and help the team,” said Harris.

Pikeville head coach Don Ashby said Harris will be a good fit for his team’s pitching staff.

“I like his speed, and from talking to him and other people he is the kindof kid who works hard, says ‘Yes sir, no sir.’ He’s a quality young man,” said Ashby.

With a young team this season, Ashby said Harris has a chance to get playing time once he arrives on campus.

“He’ll get some immediate time in some role early. We’re excited to have him,” said Ashby.

Harris knows the jump to college from high school will be a lot different.

“It’s going to be different because you have to work on location. You can’t just throw (the ball) by batters,” said Harris.

Kersten is the son of Betty and Scott Harris of Chesapeake.