Masterman's Taggart gives Franklin Towne Charter the business

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Harry Taggart delivers an RBI single in the second innning to help lift Masterman over Franklin Towne Charter.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Harry Taggart delivers an RBI single in the second innning to help lift Masterman over Franklin Towne Charter.
Posted: April 12, 2013

WE'VE ALL HEARD of Renaissance Men. How about the teenaged version?

Say hello to Harry Taggart and feel free to give him a round of applause.

Aside from being a three-sport stalwart at Julia Masterman High, the 6-foot, 180-pound senior is bound for Penn, is planning to learn Spanish well enough to eventually study abroad for a year/semester and, get this, is already a mover/shaker in a T-shirt company that's making major strides.

This is the sports section, so first be advised that Taggart, while bouncing from third base to centerfield to shortstop Thursday, went 2-for-3 with a plunking, one RBI and two runs scored as the visiting Blue Dragons topped Franklin Towne Charter, 7-3, in a Public A contest played in windy conditions at a playground on the doorstep of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.

OK, now pretend this is the business section . . .

The name of the company is Aboriginal Clothing Co. Taggart and three other soccer teammates started it. One of those guys, Joey Powell, who contributed one hit, an RBI, two runs and two innings of closing relief, is also a diamond mainstay.

"For now it's a T-shirt thing, but we'll be looking to expand," Taggart said. "We already have a website [aborigionalclothingco.com] and we've come out with four successful designs - Joey does most of that - that we've sold.

"We've been in contact with several stores about getting our stuff into them by the summer. It started off as a fun, little side thing and now we're interested in continuing with it, and seeing where it can take us. I'm definitely taking it with me to Penn."

Along with a bat and glove.

As you read this paragraph, Taggart perhaps is firing off an email to Penn's baseball coaches to let them know he'd love to be a part of the program. He definitely has the skill and grit to at least get a walk-on shot.

"Baseball is my favorite sport, easily," Taggart said. "I've played it what seems like my entire life. My dad [Rich] was my coach for a really long time - I still think he's my best-ever coach; I might be a little biased - and he really taught me to love the game."

Meanwhile, by the end of this season, perhaps even beforehand, Taggart's total number of base hits will be higher than the number of shots he attempted during basketball season.

And it wasn't as if he was, say, the ninth man. He started at forward and almost never left the court.

Yet, he figures he shot the ball no more than 25 times and in roughly half of Masterman's games, never fired at all.

Incredible!

"Hey, I got my rebounds and I led the team in assists," he said, laughing. "I made my contributions in other ways and feel I did a good job for my team.

"In pickup games, I shoot all the time. It was just a school-team thing. We had other guys [Mike Sturdivant, Gary Bryant] who were supposed to score, and they definitely took a lot of shots."

As for soccer . . . He'll graduate as the school's all-time leading scorer.

"As a freshman," he noted, "I was going to be the backup goalie on varsity. But then I missed a week, got moved down to JV and scored something like 27 goals after I said I wasn't really interested in being a goalie. I was a wing player as a sophomore, and had no goals. Then it was 42 total these last 2 years with a record 22 as a junior."

In this one, Masterman opened with a three-spot as senior righthander Damian Padilla, who later settled down and struck out 11, could not find the plate. Jack Christmas, also a baskeball starter, drew a walk to force in a run and a misplayed grounder off Jacob Nelson's bat plated two more guys.

Taggart (single), Powell (sac fly), Nelson (groundout) and Christmas (groundout) earned subsequent RBI.

The 6-6 Christmas began the game on the mound, but had to switch to first base after pounding a foul ball off the ground high into his upper left thigh. Sophomore Greg Whitehorn pitched the next four innings, then gave way to Powell after reaching a 2-0 count on the second batter of the sixth.

Chris Hartman led "Towne" with a pair of RBI triples and Steve Callahan went 2-for-3 with a walk, two steals and a liner into an out.

Taggart, who lives near 3rd and Morris in the Pennsport section of South Philly, is at his worst when Masterman has a half-day and no practices/games are scheduled.

"It's like, 'OK, what do I do now?' " he said, smiling. "I've always played sports my whole life. Guys talk about getting home late. For me, 'late' is 'on time.' "

And you can bet his time at Penn will be well spent.

"I can't wait to take lots of classes in different areas," he said. "Hopefully, I'll find something I love and become real good at it."


High school coverage: www.philly.com/rally.

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