Broadway’s Morris Picks School
BHS Catcher To Play At Potomac State
TIMBERVILLE – Broadway High School’s Dalton Morris has always seemed to have a vision for his future, whether it was playing cops and robbers as a kid growing up in Fulks Run or throwing out runners left and right as a Little League catcher.
His decision to attend Potomac State College will allow him to pursue both law enforcement and baseball.
Morris, who is hitting .404 for the Gobblers, will be signing his letter of intent to play baseball at the junior college in Keyser, W.Va., during a ceremony Thursday morning in the BHS auditorium. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Morris said he expects to transition to first base at Potomac State, a position he played last summer with the Broadway Bruins in the Rockingham County Baseball League.
“It’s kind of my natural position,” Morris said this week during an indoor practice at the Strike Zone batting cages. “… I’m not too big to be a catcher, but I think my size translates well to first base.”
Morris also considered Eastern Mennonite University, but he said Potomac State made more sense academically because it offered a criminal justice major.
Morris leads the Gobblers (8-10) in hitting, RBIs (13), home runs (two), walks (11), on-base percentage and slugging percentage. In his second season starting at catcher after taking over for Josh Eberly, Morris has improved his situational hitting, helping runners in scoring position with simple opposite-field singles instead of pulling baseballs and creating outs.
Replacing Eberly – whom Morris called “one of his greatest mentors” – was certainly a challenge.
“He didn’t try to be Josh Eberly,” BHS coach Charlie Shepard said. “He maintained Dalton Morris. You know, Josh was a freak of nature. I mean, he was a catcher that could run. He was a catcher who could hit for power. He was a catcher who could hit for average. … [Morris] didn’t go into a shell and say, ‘I have to live up to Josh Eberly.’ Dalton’s numbers have proven that he can play the game of baseball.
“He’s hit over .350 all three years. Not too many people at any position are going to match Eberly’s .639 average.”
Consistency has been the key for Morris, who Shepard said has had only two passed balls so far this season.
“I’m more like an RBI guy,” said Morris, a loyal Orioles fan who was wearing an orange “Crush” baseball T-shirt. “I can hit with some power, but that’s not all I focus on. I’d rather have a good average.”
Both of his career home runs have come this year.
His favorite? A leadoff solo shot from the cleanup spot that fueled a comeback win against Spotswood this season (he had a game-tying triple in the same game). His other homer came against arguably the best pitcher in the area – TA’s Eric Yankey.
“Me and Eric have always been friends. Really close friends. We hunt together,” Morris said. “I didn’t really want to brag to him because I didn’t know how he’d take it. I’m not really that kind of guy that brags. … He struck me out a few times, so it was kind of nice. But he’s never said anything about the strikeouts, so I never said anything about the home run.”
As of Thursday afternoon, Potomac State (38-13-1) had six signees in its 2013-14 recruiting class, according to the njcaa.org. Morris would be the second player from Virginia to sign.
He’s joining a squad that has six catchers currently listed on the roster, five of whom are freshman, including Luray graduate Aaron Cook.
Former Turner Ashby standout Aaron Lough was drafted by the Marlins out of Potomac State in 1997 and transferred to George Mason for a year before ultimately signing a free agent contract with the Minnesota Twins.
Morris might have a familiar face at college.
BHS outfielder Forrest Miller applied to Potomac State last week and said he plans to try to walk-on if he’s not offered a position. If he’s accepted, Miller said it was “highly likely” that he’d room with Morris.
“I heard they needed outfielders,” Miller said. “I want to go somewhere where I’d be able to play.”
Shepard said that’s one of the benefits to choosing a two-year junior college, with players transitioning in and out. It also keeps the recruiting window open.
“If you choose a four-year school, you go off the radar,” Shepard said. “… The two-year route, you stay on that radar, and where you might have been on someone’s list, now you can stay on that list.
“Then they get to see a little more. How do you handle the college level? How do you handle the classroom part at the college level? And if you have success, then, where you were on that list, you may have moved up and just become a college transfer to a higher level of ball.”