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Crosscutters’ Daniel Harris is helping Cutters on bases, at plate

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Williamsport Crosscutters infielder Daniel Harris makes a play at third base against the State College Spikes at Bowman Field on July 27.

They say slow and steady wins the race. But whoever says that might not’ve seen too many Crosscutters games in 2022.

On the road at Trenton this last week, first-place Williamsport set a new franchise record for the most stolen bases in a single season at 133. The previous record of 132 was set in 2001.

The Crosscutters currently have 136 stolen bases, the most in the MLB Draft league and 10 more than West Virginia.

“We just get on and take off, man,” Williamsport shortstop Daniel Harris said. “Don’t be scared to run and if you get thrown out, get it next time. It’s all good.”

Harris, who’s been playing for Williamsport all season, has 13 stolen bases this summer. Matthew Etzel — a Southern Miss-bound, first-half sensation — provided a vast bulk of the Crosscutters’ stolen bases with 25 bags to his name.

Etzel’s 25 stolen bases are the most by a Crosscutter in 2022 and are tied for the most in the league alongside West Virginia’s Blaze Brothers, who’s committed to finish his college career at Division I Oral Roberts.

Williamsport has been sound with more than just the baserunning. Starting pitcher and reigning league Player of the Week Nick Meyer highlights a pitching staff that holds the second lowest collective ERA. The Crosscutters also have the second highest fielding percentage at .969 — just .001 behind the Black Bears.

On the other side of the MLB All-Star break, the pieces have been moving in the same direction in every phase, which wasn’t always necessarily the case.

“You just gotta keep going. Even if stuffs not going your way, if you’re hitting stuff 100 miles per hour and getting it out, you just gotta keep going,” Harris said. “You got teammates and you gotta do it for them. It’s just always, you gotta show up the next day and do it again. That’s what I’ve been trying to do, show up and keep playing.”

Harris previously held an 11-game hit streak and is still riding a 17-game on-base streak in the second week of August. His 17 straight games of getting on base is the longest active streak in the MLB Draft League.

The University of Kentucky product has also scored a run in eight straight games, tied for the second longest active streak in the league. In his first stint of professional baseball, Harris has been getting his flowers with a team Player of the Week award on his resume as well.

“Baseball is baseball, man. You just gotta play, I think that’s the big key,” Harris said. “You just gotta show up every day and be ready to play. It’s not really an adjustment (into pro ball), it’s more like an everyday thing. It’s an everyday thing. That’s the biggest thing.”

Against Trenton, Harris recorded a three-hit night. While Williamsport sits atop the league standings, West Virginia also sits neck-and-neck with the Crosscutters with 10 wins.

The Black Bears also hold home field advantage in the MLB Draft League championship game on Sept. 6.

“I think we’re playing really good right now. I think everybody comes to the field and has a great time, and that transitions to the baseball,” Harris said. “When you’re having fun and playing good, everything starts clicking on all cylinders. You’re not thinking up there, not worried about anything external, it’s all just, ‘I wanna play good for my boys. Go out and have fun.'”

Williamsport is currently on a six-game homestead with two three-game series against Mahoning Valley and State College respectively. The Crosscutters then have nine straight road games.

“Oh man, a whole lot of gas (left in the tank). We’re gonna keep this thing rolling and keep pushing,” Harris said. “We’re still having fun with it. When we stop having fun, we’ll come back out and have a conversation with you.”

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