Being behind the plate requires sharp vision, skillful decision-making and tremendous fortitude. Whether Charlotte catcher senior Harris Yett is behind the plate or up to bat, he’s certainly capable of affecting the outcome of the game. Yett’s hitting percentage is .343 and he has started 43 games thus far. While the team’s record stands at a moderate 16-26-1, Yett has been well above average and a stand out contributor for the 49ers.
“I’m just trying to do more damage this season,” said Yett. “Last season, I hit for a good average but I didn’t hit as much [sic] extra base hits as I wanted to, and this season I’ve just been making it a big thing to try and do damage.”
Yett’s hitting hasn’t always translated to wins for the ball club, but his steady play is encouraging as the season dwindles down.
“As a whole, it has been kind of frustrating up and down, but for me, I think I’ve done fine,” said Yett. “I’d like to be a little better. I always can get better at every aspect of the game, but I think we’re about to finish strong. We’ll pick it up in the last couple of weekends.”
Yett’s journey to Charlotte is extraordinary. He played high school ball at South Mecklenburg High School before committing to play collegiately at North Carolina State. Yett accredits a lot of his preparedness for college to being part of the South Mecklenburg Sabres.
“Playing summer ball on that team, we had a lot of guys that went off and played at really big schools. We always had a bunch of attention on us,” said Yett. “Honestly, it just helped me learn how to play in that environment and just relax a little more. In high school, probably the greatest thing I took away from it was playing actual high school ball. We ended up winning the state championship my junior year at South Meck.”
Yett was born in Charlotte, so him transferring to play in the city where he was raised is a homecoming of sort.
“I originally went to NC State out of high school, and then I went to junior college for a year and then I decided to come back to Charlotte. I just missed being close to home. I love Charlotte, I’ve lived here my whole life so I just felt it was time to come back.” said Yett.
Yett’s father, Charles, played collegiate football at Wofford University. The 222 pound Yett decided against following in his father’s footsteps and picked up a glove instead of a pigskin.
“I played a little bit of football growing up, but baseball has always been my number one sport,” said Yett. “My high school football team at the time was not very good and we would have to do summer work outs. I always played on summer ball teams, so I just had to choose one or the other, so I just stuck with baseball.”
Sticking with baseball seemed to be a wise decision, and deciding to be a catcher has led to him being a semifinalist for the Buster Posey Award last season. He’s on the watch list for his play this season.
“I caught my whole life. I can play corner infield but I just definitely feel most comfortable behind the plate.” said Yett.
Yett’s bond with his current and former roommates is special. He rooms with teammates Colby Bruce, Carson Pinkney and Joey Cooner, who are all pitchers. Their bond off of the field translates to their play on the field.
“Oh yeah, it translates all the time because we tend to get split up between position players and pitchers just because of the practice plan and stuff like that,” said Yett. “I’m that guy who’s on the position side, but I always got to be on the pitcher’s side too, so it definitely helps rooming with some of those guys and getting to hang with those guys off the field.”
Yett speaks and trains with former teammates as well, some of whom he may be playing with in the minors in June.
“I talked to Brett Netzer, my roommate last year Josh Maciejewski, Reece Hampton and Zach Jarrett. All of them were here working out all fall so I got to learn a lot from how they took care of their business everyday and what it takes to play at that next level.” said Yett.
As Yett wraps up his last season as a 49er, the minors are just around the corner for the catcher.
“I’ve got to get there first, so we’ll see come June. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to play at the next level with other professionals and the game will be faster.” said Yett.
This season hasn’t been ideal for the 49ers baseball club, but Yett wants to finish out his final season on a high note before he ascends to the next level.
“This season we’re going to finish on a strong note, and after this season, that’s to be determined; we’ll see.” said Yett.
We indeed will see, and Yett will have all eyes on him as he finishes out this season and prepares to move on to the minors.