Harre thriving off Barry Bonds treatment

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Harre thriving off Barry Bonds treatment

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

Risk aversion is defined as the tendency to evade any option which might impose any loss.

Based on her 34 walks — No. 3 in Missouri Valley Conference — SIU junior first baseman Shaye Harre is quite the risk to opposing pitchers.

Harre is tied for the lead in the MVC with 11 home runs and opposing pitchers appear to notice; SIU (28-16, 11-8 MVC) is 9-1 in games Harre goes yard. 

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Coach Kerri Blaylock said she’s convinced Harre is being pitched around, similar to the treatment MLB’s all-time home run leader Barry Bonds used to get.

“There’s no doubt, it’s like a big-leaguer,” Blaylock said. “It’s like those clean-up hitters in the majors. They start to get pitched around and don’t see quality pitches.”

This past weekend, Bradley wasn’t even subtle about pitching around Harre.

She was walked five times in the three contests, including an intentional one to load the bases for sophomore right fielder Jessica Heese, who responded with a three-RBI triple.

Not seeing pitchers’ best pitches doesn’t bother Harre. She said she has to be ready regardless of what pitchers deliver. If she doesn’t get anything to hit, she’ll take the walk.

“I still have to be ready to go because even the best pitchers can leave a ball over the plate,” she said. 

When pitchers do leave one over the plate, Harre has taken advantage; her 20 extra-base hits lead the team.

Harre’s .698 slugging percentage is tied for No.3 in the MVC, making her a scoring threat each time she steps to the plate, Blaylock said.

Adjusting to not seeing prime pitches was a struggle for Harre.

In the 13 games before the Bradley series this weekend, she went 4-34 from the plate.

Even though she wasn’t hitting the ball well, her discipline helped keep her on the base paths, as her on-base percentage in the same timeframe was .326, drawing 11 walks.

Overall, Harre’s .490 OBP leads the team, 78 points more than sophomore infielder Sydney Jones’ second-place mark. 

Before the Bradley series, Blaylock said Harre made necessary adjustments.

“I thought against Evansville, she was looking better, she was being more aggressive,” she said.

The Salukis have gone as Harre has this season. 

In games where she records an RBI, the Salukis are 17-4. When she doesn’t they are 11-12.

That same trend goes for the team’s 20-7 record when Harre gets a hit and 8-9 record when she doesn’t.

Heese has also been stellar behind Harre all season long, batting .295 with 19 extra-base hits. She doesn’t blame the opponent for pitching around Harre.

“It’s smart of them to do because she hits the ball so hard,” she said. “I just have to be there to pick them up.”

The practice of pitching around strong hitters is not just for Harre, Blaylock said.

“It’s all the time, I do it too,” she said. “You may just have an opponent and you just don’t want that kid to beat you.”

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307.

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