'Dirty' job nets WAC award for UH hurler
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
"Dirty Harry" faced Clint Eastman last Friday at Les Murakami Stadium.
Pacific pinch hitter Eastman — well, not quite Eastwood, but close enough — flied out against Hawai'i starter Ian Harrington, also known as "Dirty Harry" since he was a freshman at Bellevue (Wash.) Community College, where he transferred from two seasons ago. Eastman was the last batter Harrington faced in the left-hander's seven innings of four-hit ball in a 13-1 win against the Tigers. For his effort, he was named Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week.
"We had a great weekend as a team," said Harrington, who improved to 2-1 on the season and lowered his earned run average to 3.60 after a disastrous outing two weeks ago when he lasted 1 1/3 innings, giving up seven runs, in a 13-11 loss to Georgia Southern, which went on to sweep a two-game series from No. 16 Georgia Tech over the weekend. "Three wins are always what we're looking for."
Although known for making batters put the ball in play, Harrington had a career-high nine strikeouts.
"I was spotting (my fastball) real well," he said. "I felt I could throw all three pitches for strikes, but my fastball, I felt, was most effective. I was down in the zone with it and able to locate (it)."
As for the nickname, obviously a play off his last name, Harrington likes it.
"Mark Rodrigues always calls me 'Dirty Harry,' " he said. "It's always fun to have a nickname."
This week's upset special was first baseman Kris Sanchez not getting his third consecutive Hitter of the Week honor. It went to Louisiana Tech two-way player Brandon Hudson, last week's conference Pitcher of the Week, who was 7 for 12 with six runs, a home run, triple and four RBIs.
Sanchez batted 5 for 13 with three home runs and nine RBIs. Sanchez had a grand slam and six RBIs to support Harrington, who praised the UH batters.
"Just look at our hitting statistics now," Harrington said. "Guys are definitely crushing the ball."
Hawai'i is batting .298 with a .404 on-base percentage in part to drawing 52 walks.
Kamehameha-Hawai'i junior catcher/infielder Kolten Wong said he has verbally committed to play for the Rainbows starting with the 2009 season.
"It's an awesome feeling," Wong said in a telephone interview from his Big Island home. "I never heard of anybody getting offered their junior year. It surprised me a lot."
Colleges are prohibited from commenting on recruits until they sign binding letters of intent. The early signing period for the Class of 2008 is in November.
Wong, who also plays running back in football and sprints and long jumps in track, has been a varsity starter in baseball since he was a freshman. He has participated in two Perfect Game showcase events that were held on O'ahu the past two years and took part in the Major League Scouting Bureau invitational showcase in July.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder bats left-handed, but throws right-handed. Although he catches for the his school, he said UH is looking at him to play second base.
His father is Kaha Wong, who played at Southern California (1985 to 1986) and UH-Hilo (1987 to 1988).
Although UH did not formally announce its 2008 recruits they signed, The Advertiser found and confirmed them. See the accompanying list above.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at email@example.com.