The Husky Baseball team welcomes in a group of newcomers for the 2017 season that helped make up one of the nation's top-10 overall classes. Leading up to the season-opener on Feb. 17, GoHuskies.com will feature some of the newcomers online and through UW Baseball's social channels. Featured today is right-handed pitcher Harrison Goonewardene out of Mercer Island, Wash.
How has the transition from high school to college been for you?
I think it was what I expected. It's what I had heard from my high school coaches and everything, but obviously there's stuff that you don't really hear and people don't really talk about as much. I think it went pretty smoothly into the fall, I was excited for the transition.
Your high school coach Dominic Woody was a Husky. Did he ever talk to you about his experiences at UW and push you this way?
He'd always tell me if I didn't do something right in practice or whatever that I'd be punished for that at the next level. You can't be doing that stuff and get away with it. He really pushed me to be that next level player and helped me big time with an easier transition into here, having him gone through it already, especially in this program.
What was it like to win the first state title ever for Mercer Island baseball junior year?
It was a good run, we got hot right at the end, at the right time in playoff baseball. It was pretty cool because we got to play at Husky Ballpark so it was pretty special.
What was the recruiting process like for you? When did you hear from Washington and when did you commit?
Going into sophomore year, (Donegal) Fergus was down at Baseball Northwest in Centralia and saw me. I pitched later that tournament and JK (Jason Kelly
) came and watched that. They went through my pitching coach, Dave Wainhouse, Joe's dad. Fergus knew him so we got in touch through them and then they had me out on two unofficial visits and they offered me the Oregon football weekend, I think the middle of October maybe my sophomore year and then a week later I committed here. It was pretty crazy to know that you are going to college already because everyone else is different and have to apply to so many schools and have test scores and everything and everyone is stressing out. I was pretty lucky and blessed to know that I just had that in my back pocket.
Have you always been a Husky fan?
Ever since we moved here I always enjoyed going to the games and watching players. Through high school having so many coaches that went here and played here, it really made me fall in love with the school and the program.
When did you move to the area?
We moved when I was pretty young, kindergarten I think. Then we moved away and moved back so this is the longest I've lived in one place. I was born in California and then we moved to Texas, moved up to Seattle and left Seattle in fourth grade, went to Chicago for two years and then moved back. I have been here ever since.
With so many new faces on the team, how is everyone coming together?
I think that this team has great chemistry, we've been bonding really well and we all hang out. I haven't seen that little pest in the locker room that some teams have. I think that we get along really well and go about our business in the right way. I went to high school with Michael (Petrie) and its pretty cool that I get to play with him at the next level again for four years. Four years in high school and hopefully three or four here with him as well.
What are you thinking about majoring in?
Biology as a pre-med student. Biology has always been interesting to me and comes easy to me. I still have to study for it and all but it's always been an interesting topic to me. I've been looking with (academic advisor) Robyn (Hefner) about fisheries and aquatic sciences something like that. I don't really know what I want to do, maybe a doctor, but I haven't figured it out.
What do you like to do when you're not playing baseball?
I love the outdoors, so I love going hiking with friends and family. My dad and I always go hunting and fishing a lot. I like being out on the water in the lake and boating.
Describe yourself as a pitcher.
They've been working with me to keep the ball down low and being like a sinker-ball pitcher, so keep sinking the ball in. Also working my curve ball and slider to kind of go back door with it. I'm also developing the change up. My only fastball is the sinker that they want me to throw. They don't want me to throw a four-seam ball, only two seams. I'm more about movement than velocity.
Do you have any goals for yourself this year?
This year, I want to get in as many innings as I can to show that I can prove myself out there in the pen and know that I can come in during any situation and be a sturdy arm out of the pen.
What's it like to use these facilities after watching them be built?
It was pretty cool to see it because I lived pretty close and my dad and I would come in the fall on weekends and watch them practice and see that they barely had the turf down so it's pretty cool to see how it transformed into the beautiful ball park it is now. It's pretty neat to be a part of it now.