Frewsburg’s Hair Taking Talents To Mercyhurst
FREWSBURG — Calling Mercyhurst University his “dream school,” Frewsburg senior Aaron Hair made it official Wednesday when he signed his national letter of intent to play baseball for the Lakers.
Baseball has been in the Hair family’s blood for years.
Emily Hair, Aaron’s older sister, played softball at Mercyhurst University, which is when Aaron was introduced to the Catholic University in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Aaron’s older brother, Matt, played two years at Jamestown Community College and is now a senior first baseman at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
And Aaron’s father Bill played collegiately for Edinboro University after shining at Falconer Central School.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today without him,” Aaron said Wednesday when asked about his dad’s influence. “The early mornings … all the rides to games and teaching me everything I need to know, and giving me help where I needed it.”
“Bill has been a key to this program for a number of years, whether it was as a fan or as a coach,” Frewsburg Bears and Southern Tier Regulators head coach Jay Grann said. “He’s a guy that is just somebody that each of these players can look up to and know that guy is doing everything for the right reasons. I couldn’t be more proud to call that guy a friend of mine and our coach.”
Aaron burst onto the scene as a sophomore for the Bears, going 5-1 in 29 2/3 innings, striking out 48 while pitching to a 2.36 earned run average.
“When I was younger, I was pretty good at football but a few injuries held me back and the focus all turned to baseball,” he said. “I don’t regret that at all.”
As a junior at Frewsburg, Hair went 5-1 in 55 innings, striking out 94 while allowing just six earned runs for a 0.76 ERA.
“It’s helped having Coach Grann,” he said. “He’s been with me every step of the way.”
Aaron then joined the Regulators this past summer, throwing 31 1/3 innings with 39 strikeouts and a 3.16 ERA.
“I spent two summers up in Buffalo, but that was pretty grueling going up there every week,” he said. ” … Just being down here with a lot of local guys I already know, I was able to build on those relationships.”
When the spring season gets underway in March, Hair will lead a pitching staff that includes junior Ryan Schrecengost. The Bears lost to Falconer in the Section VI Class C title game last spring at Diethrick Park.
“It was definitely on my mind a lot. Now that I’m committed, I can just relax,” Hair said about completing the recruiting process. “I’m not going to ease up, but I will be able to perform much better without all that pressure.”
At Mercyhurst, Hair intends to major in special education and will play for head coach Joe Spano. The Lakers are one of the preeminent NCAA Division II programs in the eastern half of the country. They have won three Atlantic Region titles and played in three World Series, advancing to the program’s first Final Four this past season.
“He’s definitely put in so much hard work. The talent has already been there since he was small,” Grann said. “Now that he’s a grown man, he definitely can play at that level.”
Spano has a 20-year career record of 649-380-3 and won his second straight American Baseball Coaches/Diamond Atlantic Region Coach of the Year award this past spring.
“I have a good relationship with Coach Spano and his brother,” Hair said. “It was my dream school growing up.”
Mercyhurst has sent 27 players into professional baseball, including eight currently with Major League organizations. Most familiar to fans of Jamestown baseball are relief pitcher Matt Minnick and starting pitcher Chris Vallimont, who were recently members of the Jammers’ collegiate summer baseball league teams.
“This is kind of a cornerstone for our area,” Grann said, “seeing that we are going to produce kids, give them opportunities to be seen and ultimately end up in a college program.”