The baseball team finally landed prized recruit Harry Ley. The only catch was, the Owls were four years late.
After an unsuccessful attempt at recruiting Ley in 2001, the Owls and Ley were finally united when the senior transferred to Temple from Drexel this spring.
“At the time, we didn’t have enough money to offer him, so he went to Drexel,” assistant coach John McArdle said.
After Drexel dropped their baseball program last year, Ley had one year of eligibility remaining, and wanted to keep playing baseball.
La Salle, Delaware, and West Chester were also interested in Ley, but the Owls got their man – four years after originally recruiting him.
After sending all his necessary information to the NCAA, Ley was made eligible prior to the Owls’ game at Dayton on April 9.
Ley credited coach Skip Wilson and the coaching staff as one of the main reasons he chose Temple for his final collegiate season.
“Skip has so much knowledge of the game after coaching for so many years,” Ley said. “The entire coaching staff has a lot of experience, which helps you on the field and gets you prepared for every game.”
Ley, a Philadelphia native, is capable of playing any infield position, but said he is most experienced at shortstop. Though the Owls have three senior infielders, Ley has not been kept out of the lineup. McArdle has used Ley primarily as a designated hitter.
Ley has played first base on days when senior Mike Weckenman, the starting first baseman, serves as a pitcher. Ley also gives the Owls infield depth if an injury bug bites.
“With Harry, we know we have a solid guy if one of our infielders goes down,” McArdle said.
Ley said the biggest difference between Temple and Drexel’s baseball teams was unity. He compared the makeup of the teams, pointing out that Drexel had a lot of players from the Midwest and West Coast, whereas the majority of Temple’s players are from Philadelphia and its surrounding areas.
“At Drexel, everyone was from different places, and the team wasn’t as close-knit,” Ley said. “Everyone here has fun with each other because they come from the same place.”
McArdle said Ley adjusted very smoothly to playing with the Owls, saying his transition did not take long at all.
Ley appears to be doing well statistically, too. He has appeared in 11 games, clubbing two home runs and three doubles, while knocking in six. His .341 batting average is second-highest on the team.
“Harry has been a very positive factor and a great addition,” McArdle said. “He can run, bunt, and hit for power.”
Playing professional ball after college is an option Ley is keeping open, but a career outside of baseball is his No. 1 priority.
“During my last year at Drexel, I worked out with the Anaheim Angels, and they said they liked what they saw,” Ley said. “I guess we’ll see what happens.”
Dan Murphy can be reached at email@example.com.