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Born maize and blue, Haase is all Ohio now

Born in Michigan, Haase is all-in on Ohio now

Born maize and blue, Haase is all Ohio now
Eric Haase (Photo: Lianna Holub)
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Eric Haase may be from “The State Up North”, but his dedication rests within the Buckeye State.

Haase, 20, hails from Westland, Michigan, just east of Ann Arbor. Though he’s from the land of blue and maize, he had plans to move to the land of scarlet and grey his senior year of high school. Before he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 2011, Haase was committed to The Ohio State University. Haase said Ohio State seemed like a good fit for him because he liked the coaching staff and facilities.

The Haase family backed the catcher’s initial decision to take his talents south to Columbus until the draft rolled around. “They were behind me with whichever decision I made,” Haase explained. “They obviously wanted to see me go to school but when the draft came around they realized that was a good opportunity for me too.”

Haase was taken in the seventh round of the 2011 draft. He was on his way to high school practice when he learned he was drafted, though he already anticipated the Indians might select him.

“I kind of had an idea that they would,” Haase said. “I talked to the scouts and things like that, so I figured they’d probably be one of the teams I was expecting.”

Since joining the organization, Haase’s primary focus has been his work behind the dish. Originally a third baseman, Haase caught a little during his junior and senior year but made the full conversion at the draft. He spent his time during spring training working with the coaching staff on his catching craft and he’s doing the same now with the low-A Lake County Captains.

Offensively, Haase started off the season as one of the team’s hottest hitters. Though he cooled off a bit during the month of May, he still ranks second among the team in doubles (11) and RBI (22), and leads the team in home runs with five.

In order to return to his early season form, Haase is honing in on his footwork. He said he’s closing his stance a bit in order to produce a more consistent stride during his swing. The adjustments seem to be working as his average has risen through the month of June and he’s hit a pair of home runs through his last 10 games.

Now, Haase’s biggest goal through the remainder of the season is to help manage the Lake County pitching staff. “I’m just going to try to keep them on track, try to get the best out of them,” he said.

Haase is part of a rotation of his own, considering the Captains have a trio of formidable catchers with Richard StockJeremy Lucas and Haase. The platoon doesn’t bother Haase though, as the catching system has a consistent schedule. “We’re all going to play,” he said. “We’re on a schedule so it’s not necessarily like if I’m not doing good, the other catchers are going to play or if I’m doing good, they’re not going to play. It’s good to have that same schedule regardless of how you’re doing.”

Now that he’s fallen into a pattern with the Captains, Haase has adapted to life in Lake County. He enjoys the routine with the Captains more than the customs he experienced back in Arizona, because he likes playing a full season. He’s also finding ways to enjoy life off the diamond in Eastlake, such as spending time fishing in the Chagrin River.

Haase may be a Michigan native, but he’s finding his place in the Buckeye State and in the Indians’ organization. He’s torn between allegiances to his blue and maize background and scarlet and grey (almost) alma matter, but for now, he’s traded in all his colors for Lake County Captains’ blue.

Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.

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