Being the son of a military man, York Catholic senior Erich Hartman has grown accustomed to moving from city to city and state to state over his lifetime.
While it sometimes took a little while for him to get acclimated to his new surroundings, that really wasn't the case when he began school at York Catholic more than two years ago.
Hartman is hoping that the next transition in his life goes just as smoothly.
The 6-foot, 4-inch right-hander officially signed his letter of intent this week to play baseball for the University of Kentucky. He will receive a partial scholarship. He had previously made a verbal commitment to the Wildcats.
"The campus there was just amazing," Hartman said of the school located in Lexington. "I always wanted to go to a big school with a lot of people, but I also wanted a campus that was not going to be spread out a lot."
Hartman narrowed his choices down to Kentucky and West Virginia early in the summer before making his decision in June. One of the factors that played against WVU was how far a number of the facilities were apart from one another.
"West Virginia, when I went to visit there, I wasn't a huge fan of the campus," Hartman said. "As far as the coaches go, it was all great and all, but Kentucky, with the basketball aspect, it's SEC, and all of the coaches there were just great."
Hartman started to pick up some attention from Division II and smaller Division I schools after pitching the Fighting Irish to the program's first District 3 title last spring.
It wasn't until he put together a highlight film of himself, however, that he started to get the attention of some bigger schools.
"I really started to get noticed after I sent out the video," Hartman said of a tape he put together with the aid of his father, Buddy. "That really got my name out there with college coaches. In the video I reached 91 (mph on the radar gun) but I'm really more regularly in the high 80s with my velocity. I also have a slider and a change up as well."
A lot of the credit for helping Hartman achieve his dream goes to Billy White, a coach for the GoWags Bandits, a travel team that Hartman played for over the summer. White played at Kentucky during his college career before getting drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1989.
"Billy White was probably one of the biggest reasons that I'm getting to go to Kentucky," Hartman said. "He had such a great impact on my game and he's really good at getting college coaches to come and look at you. He got Kentucky coaches to come up and watch me play when we were at a tournament at Virginia Tech. So I have to say a big thanks to him for what has happened with me."
Before Hartman prepares to embark on his college career next summer, he has some goals to reach while he's still in high school. Hartman, who plays some shortstop and first base when he's not pitching, is hoping to add on 10-15 pounds of muscle to his 180-pound frame, with the goal being to increase his velocity a few ticks.
Hartman is also hoping to lead the Irish to some additional hardware to fill the trophy cases at York Catholic.
"Winning another district title would be huge for our team, seeing as last year was our first one," he said. "We'd like to get back to the Revs' stadium (where the District 3 titles games are held) again this year and make an extended state run. We'll see."
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.