Senior Spotlight: Franklin Regional catcher gets head start on future career during quarantine

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Saturday, May 2, 2020 | 9:00 AM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

While most high school students are at home, working on homework or training for college sports during the coronavirus pandemic, Franklin Regional senior Bryce Harper has been getting a head start on his future career.

He wakes up every morning and gets to his job at the No. 1 Cochran car dealership, where he works in the Subaru parts department, by 7 a.m. and works till about 5 p.m. before heading home and completing any schoolwork he needs to get done.

“I’m getting a head start right now on the rest of my life,” Harper said. “I would like to grow in the car industry. I’m not sure what I’d like to do, but I’d like to stay in the industry.”

As a freshman, Harper committed to play baseball at Virginia Tech, but during May of last year, the Franklin Regional backstop decided to decommit. He reopened his recruitment and was receiving interest from several schools. But with his future undecided, he wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do.

Before his senior year began, Harper was weighing his options. He was debating whether he wanted to go to college, where he could continue his baseball career, or if he just wanted to go right into the workforce. After a lot of debate, he decided on the latter.

“It was really difficult, giving up my baseball career,” Harper said. “But the idea of not getting a college education was something that’s always been on my plate because I’ve never really conformed to the norm. I always did well in school, but it wasn’t really for me. But giving up baseball was probably the hardest part.”

Over the course of his four years at Franklin Regional, Harper contributed to a lot of success on the baseball diamond. The Panthers made the playoffs all four years, and just last year, they went 19-3 and made a run to the PIAA Class 5A quarterfinals.

“It was great to be around all of the different classes,” Harper said. “My freshman year, there were 11 seniors, so to be with those guys as a freshman was pretty incredible. Then, this past year when we were probably one of the best teams Franklin has ever had, that was pretty special to be a part of.”

What’s your favorite memory of playing baseball for Franklin Regional?

Last year when we went on quite the run and won the section for the first time in a while.

Would you rather throw a runner out or hit a home run?

Nothing really beats throwing a runner out.

If you could catch a game for any pitcher who would it be?

I’d probably have to say Aroldis Chapman. I think catching that type of speed would be pretty fun.

What’s it like to share a name with one of the game’s best players?

When he first came up and I was younger, it was a lot bigger of a deal. But I feel like as I’ve grown up and people realize that that’s just my name, it’s kind of died down.

Have there ever been any funny moments because of it?

During summer ball, when we played at a field where they would announce your name, it would always get a big cheer out of the crowd.

What’s a day look like for you during quarantine?

I start work at 7 a.m., then get home around 5, then I’ll do what I have to do every night really.

What’s your favorite moment as a sports fan?

I’d have to say the 2013 Pirates wild card game.

If you could have anyone give the commencement speech at your graduation, who would it be?

President Trump

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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