Still playing baseball
McDonough graduates head to college to continue careers
Damien Price and David Larson were the driving forces on the mound for the McDonough High School baseball team. They were just as driven in the classroom.
After four years of high school, the McDonough graduates are starting a new journey at the college level.
In a recent signing ceremony at McDonough, Price signed a national of intent to NCAA Division II Wheeling Jesuit (W.Va.), while Larson committed to Division III’s Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.
The former Rams teammates will both be majoring in computer science.
“It feels great. I didn’t even know that I was going to go Wheeling until the end of July,” said Price, who carried a 3.5 GPA at McDonough. “I’m so thankful that the Lord allowed me to continue to play baseball and get an education. Me and David have the same major, which is very cool. I was stoked when I found out that I was going to playing at the next level.”
Price said that he fell in love with the school and the team when he took his official visit in mid-July. He is expected to be in the starting pitching rotation as a true freshman.
“I liked the small atmosphere and when I met the team and [head] coach Terry [Edwards] they were very welcoming,” said Price, who started classes on Monday. “Wheeling hasn’t had a winning season in a couple years, so with a talented incoming freshmen class I think we can help turn things around.”
Price transferred to McDonough in February from Washington Catholic Athletic Conference outfit McNamara, a private school in Prince George’s County — nearly a month before baseball season.
The Rams No. 2 pitcher went on to have strong senior campaign, finishing with a 6-1 record to go along with a 1.51 ERA and 52 strikeouts on the season.
“Even though we didn’t win the state title, we had a awesome season and I will miss my teammates and coaches,” Price said.
He also played first and third base and was a key contributor on a McDonough team that advanced back to Class 1A North Region championship game.
“Damien had great work ethic and after he pitched in a game he would go to the gym and workout,” McDonough head baseball coach Mike Lydon said. “I can remember one day I was talking to him at practice and he said, ‘Whatever’ and I got mad and he said, ‘No coach whatever it takes for us to win.’ So that for the rest of year we used that motto for the season. For being there for one season he sacrificed his own for what was best for the team and I hope that carries over to college.”
Larson, who was McDonough’s No. 1 pitcher his junior and senior seasons, still has passion for baseball, but is focused his career field in the future.
“This is where the world is headed. We are moving in the direction of technology and I feel that it is good to learn something in that field,” Larson said. [WPI] is a very prestigious engineering school which fits perfectly with my interest in computer science. I enjoy the challenges that come in the field and the starting salary is quite high.”
Larson, who carried a 4.5 GPA, started classes on Thursday.
On why the school was the perfect fit for him, he said, “I have always had an academics-first mindset, and upon meeting coach Mike Callahan of [WPI], I learned that he has a very similar mindset for his players. He believes that if a player is not doing well in the classroom, he will not be doing well on the field. I also had the privilege of meeting some of the players on an overnight visit and seemed to click right away with them.”
Larson led the Rams to a region championship appearance his senior year a season after a state championship run his junior season. As a senior, he went 6-1 on the mound with 66 strikeouts and had a .335 batting average with four home runs.
Larson’s best memory came as a junior when he hit a threerun walk-off homer to win the regional final over Sparrows Point of Baltimore County.
“As a freshman he was throwing the 72 [mph] and then as a senior he left throwing up to 86,” Lydon said. “He got stronger and grew into his body and his mechanics got a lot better. But he was a player that never got down, he worked hard and now he will have a career to fall back on after baseball.”
Larson was an All-Southern Maryland Athletic Conference and All-County first-team selection in his last two seasons.
“I’m going to miss my old teammates,” he said. “That being said, there is a lot to look forward to in this new experience as well.”
McDonough High School graduate Damien Price recently signed a national letter of intent to NCAA Division II’s Wheeling Jesuit University (W.Va.) for baseball. Seated, from left, are Price’s sister Peyton Price, Damien Price and Price’s mother Denise Yates. In the back row are McDonough athletic director Pam Thornton-Van Bellen, left, head baseball coach Mike Lydon and Principal Steven Roberts.
McDonough High School graduate David Larson recently committed to NCAA Division III outfit Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts for baseball. Seated, from left, are Larson’s mother Ann-Marie Larson, David Larson and McDonough head baseball coach Mike Lydon. In the back row are McDonough athletic director Pam Thornton-Van Bellen, left, and Principal Steven Roberts.