At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, Washburn University outfielder Payton McHarg isn't likely to strike fear in Ichabod opponents ... until he swings the bat.

PaytonMcHargBASEBALLRogersState 2Washburn junior outfielder Payton McHarg (5) celebrates after hitting his nation-leading 17th home run in Saturday's 15-7 win over Rogers State. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

PaytonMcHargBASEBALLRogersState 3Payton McHarg leads the nation in home runs and tops Washburn in hits, runs, homers and RBI. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

The native of Saskatchewan, Canada, McHarg has turned in an outstanding first season for Washburn, leading the nation with 17 home runs while batting .383 and leading the 18-14 Ichabods in runs, hits and runs batted in while compiling a .908 slugging percentage and and a .487 on-base percentage.

McHarg landed at Washburn after two seasons at Kansas City Kansas Community College and Ichabod coach Harley Douglas said he knew McHarg could be a special player after he first saw him in the fall prior to the 2023 season.

"The fall before the season when KCK came in here, he was facing Casey Steward and Rane Pfeifer and some of those arms and he hit one off the scoreboard against us and we were like, 'Man, this kid's really good,' '' Douglas said. "We loved him and made an offer to him.

"He wasn't ready to pull the trigger and we thought, 'Oh great, somebody's going to come along, some D-Is and like that,' but he hurt his wrist and he really didn't get to play the second half of the season.''

McHarg's injury worked out well for both McHarg and Washburn.

"He liked what he had here and he ended up jumping on it and taking it and it's been a blessing for us,'' Douglas said.

"I love the guys and the coaches,'' McHarg said. "The campus is awesome.''

McHarg's move to Topeka came three years after he made the decision to come to the United States to continue his career.

"I just posted videos online through my junior and senior year and then I got contacted and figured out that I could get a scholarship and go play baseball,'' he said. "You always want to keep playing the game as long as you can.''

And while McHarg envisioned a productive career, he couldn't have predicted he would be leading the nation in round-trippers.

"I haven't really had a spark like this where I'm hitting a lot of home runs,'' McHarg said. "All my life I've been little, a small guy with speed and then the past two years I've started getting more muscle and started to hit them out more. They just come.''

With Washburn looking to end the season with a hot streak and a return trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs, McHarg just wants to continue to do what he's been doing.

In his most recent game, the Ichabod leadoff hitter went 3 for 3 in a 15-7 series-clinching win over Rogers State, scoring five runs with a homer and an RBI.

"It's being calm at the plate and just relaxed and enjoying the game for what it is,'' he said. "I'm just trying to beat the pitcher and trying to do what I can to put the ball in play.''

"He's fun to coach, he's fun to be around and he is just a different type of ballplayer,'' Douglas said. "He brings it every day. He's just a grinder and it's fun to watch.'' 

Washburn will open a three-game MIAA road series on Friday in Newton against Newman.



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