The University of California, Los Angeles baseball team has picked up a top recruit from the Santa Clarita Valley.
Canyon right-handed-pitcher Charles Harrison (class of 2019) verbally committed to play the next four years for the Bruins on Wednesday, Oct. 17.
“I picked UCLA because it’s been my dream school since I was a little kid,” Harrison said. “It was easy for me.”
Finishing with a 3.56 ERA in 63 innings of action and throwing 72 strikeouts during the 2017-18 season, according to MaxPreps.com, Harrison was able to hold opposing batters to a .280 hitting percentage in 13 appearances on the year, guiding the Cowboys to three wins in those appearances.
First-year head coach Justin Stark, who took over for Drew Peterson in August, has nothing but praise for the senior pitcher.
“He is an extremely hard worker,” said first-year Canyon head coach Justin Stark. “He is somebody that everybody wants a part of their program. He is the first person at practice every day and he puts in the work and everything he’s gotten he has earned.”
Harrison recorded double-digit strikeouts in two games during 2017-18 season, throwing 10 K’s in a 5-4, seven-inning win over Golden Valley and in a 3-4, 6 1/3 inning loss to Rialto.
In his final year at Canyon High School, Harrison’s goals are clear.
“I want to win league,” Harrison said. “Individually, I’m just looking to help my team out and try to help them win in any way that I can.”
Harrison was also able to record 28 hits and 16 RBIs in 87 at-bats last season.
Standing at 6-foot-1, Harrison has had some help perfecting his throwing motion and velocity with some extra help from Jim Wagner’s ThrowZone Academy in Santa Clarita, who has been coaching Harrison since the eighth grade.
“Charles took the information and absolutely ran with whatever he was working on,” Wagner said. “He asked questions but he never wavered from his commitment on whatever we might have been working on.
“He is a very quiet person by nature and he has always been quietly driven to throw the ball 90 miles per hour.”
In recent years, ThrowZone Academy has produced local talents and turned them into elite pitchers, with the likes of 2018 Hart grad Bryce Collins, who is now a pitcher at the University of Arizona as well as MLB pros Tyler Glasnow (Hart) and Trevor Bauer (Hart), who pitch for the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians, respectively.
“I hope I make a big impact on people for years to come,” Harrison said. “I hope people can learn and take some notes and believe that if I could make it to D-1 school then they could do it too.”
Bauer also attended UCLA from 2009 to 2011 and was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the third pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
With the verbal commitment, the Bruins now have the No. 23 ranked recruiting class in the country, according to PerfectGame.org, already having nine total commits with five of them being ranked inside the top 100 in the Class of 2019.
“I just want to try and win a College World Series,” Harrison said. “I want to go over there and I want to win.”