Those who have coached Monte Harrison — whether it be on the baseball diamond, football field or basketball court — often have an abundance of stories to share about their time with Harrison, the supremely gifted three-sport athlete.
Lee’s Summit West baseball coach Jay Meyer has plenty, but his memory first draws him to a catch Harrison made in center field this spring.
“Oh my God,” Meyer says as he begins to reenact the play. “He gets a great jump off the bat, runs a perfect line to the ball, then just makes a beautiful, full-extension dive. I mean ridiculous. You can’t teach that.”
Harrison offered showcases of his athleticism in three sports his senior year. He helped the Lee’s Summit West football team win the Missouri Class 5 state championship with 28 touchdowns during the season. He also helped the Titans reach the state basketball tournament with 15.7 and 5.9 rebounds per game.
But his true calling came on the baseball field, where he batted .433 with a .563 on-base percentage. He hit 12 doubles, two triples, two home runs and knocked in 35 runs, good enough to earn him The Star’s All-Metro baseball player of the year award.
A standout season led the Milwaukee Brewers to select Harrison with the 50th overall pick of the 2014 MLB Draft. Harrison signed a contract with the Brewers worth $1.8 million.
“He might be one of the best athletes to ever come out of this state,” Meyer said. “I’d like to find somebody who could excel in three sports like that.”
Harrison signed with Nebraska to play football and baseball, but he opted instead to join the Brewers organization. It took him less than a week to hit the first professional home run of his career in the Rookie Arizona League.
The Star’s All-Metro baseball team
Ryan Cyr, Blue Valley, junior. The Kansas Class 6A state champion posted a 1.79 ERA in 58 2/3 innings and finished with a 5-2 record. He also recorded two saves and 57 strikeouts, while allowing 55 hits.
Alex Lange, Lee’s Summit West, senior. The Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year threw three no-hitters. A Louisiana State signee, Lange was 9-0 with a 0.96 earned run average. He struck out 116 hitters in 69 innings.
Sam Frazen, Pembroke Hill, senior. In helping the Raiders to a second-place finish in Missouri Class 4, Frazen batted .469 with 10 doubles, two triples and three home runs. He drove in 27 runs and crossed the plate 36 times.
Austin Michaud, Olathe East, senior. The Sunflower League player of the year batted .486 with a team-high 35 hits, including seven doubles and four home runs. He also knocked in 34 runs.
Dylan Holden, De Soto, senior. After a shoulder injury kept Holden out of the starting rotation, he quickly adjusted to his new role in the infield. He batted .455 with 35 hits and 21 RBIs for the state champion Wildcats.
Colton Pogue, Blue Springs South, senior. The Suburban Gold Conference player of the year batted .441 with 15 doubles and seven home runs. He helped Blue Springs South reach the state tournament for the first time in school history.
Brian Sharp, Liberty North, junior. With a .453 average and .550 on-base percentage, Sharp proved to be one of the toughest outs in the area. He also hit three homers and nine doubles, while driving in 25 runs.
Jack Benninghoff, Rockhurst, senior. The Arkansas signee stole 37 bases, batted .400 and reached base in nearly half of his plate appearances. The center fielder had 15 extra-base hits and scored 29 runs.
Evan Bourn, Blue Valley West, senior. As one of the top returners from the 2013 Kansas 6A state championship team, Bourn batted .524 with 33 hits, which included six doubles and four triples. He also knocked in 25 runs.
Monte Harrison, Lee’s Summit West, senior. The three-sport athlete batted .433 with a .563 on-base percentage. He collected 16 extra-base hits and drove in 35 runs before being selected in the second round of the MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.
John Oliver, Staley, senior. When he wasn’t roaming the left side of the infield, Oliver was on the mound, where he compiled a 5-0 record and a 1.27 earned run average. He also batted .472, drove in 43 runs and reached base at a .530 clip.