As a freshman in high school playing baseball at McDonough High School, David Larson didn’t think have any thoughts about taking his game to the next level to play in college.
“When I first went to high school, I didn’t really have any plans to play ball in college,” Larson said. “I knew I was a pretty good player as far as freshmen go, but I didn’t think that college ball was realistic.”
Larson, a McDonough graduate from Port Tobacco, just finished playing his junior season at NCAA Division III Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts.
“David has brought a lot of leadership to us over the last three years,” Worcester head baseball coach Mike Callahan said. “He’s a really talented, hard-working and smart kid. He plays the game the right way and plays hard. He had one heck of a junior year.”
Larson earned accolades as a selection to the All-New England Women’s & Men’s Athletic Conference first team after a successful junior campaign in which he led the conference with 68 strikeouts.
“After my parents and I found out that I had made the All-New England team, the idea that being an All-American was possible,” Larson said. “It briefly crossed our minds, but we just laughed it off and dismissed it as extremely unlikely.”
A text from Callahan about a week later had a link to an article on d3baseball.com showing Larson had earned a place on the All-America second team.
“It was an incredible feeling and a huge honor,” Larson said. “Growing up every now and then I’d hear about somebody playing ball in college who was an All-American, and I would be totally star-struck. It’s a tremendous sense of accomplishment, but at the same time extremely humbling to be a part of that group.”
Humble was one word that came to mind when David’s father, Russ Larson, was asked to describe his son.
“Along the way, David has developed that in his personality that even though he is a good player, he doesn’t brag and isn’t boastful,” Russ Larson said. “It has been a special ride and quite a year.”
The Larson family moved to Charles County in 2007 and became associated with the Charles County Youth League.
“David played with that organization for years and he had the opportunity to play in the Cal Ripken World Series,” Russ Larson said. “That was an exciting once in a lifetime experience.”
In 2015, David Larson helped lead McDonough to its first appearance in the state championship contest before the Rams made it back this past spring.
“I loved playing ball at McDonough,” David Larson said. “Head coach [Mike] Lydon saw potential in me and inspired me to want to reach the next level. He got me in the weight room, where I should have been years ago, and worked with me on the field a ton. I don’t know where I would be today without his coaching.”
On the mound, Larson helped lead Worcester to a win over then seventh-ranked Babson (Mass.) pitching a complete-game shutout with 11 strikeouts in the first round of the conference tournament this spring.
“David beat Babson in the first round of the playoffs after pitching a nine-inning complete game and our team won 5-1,” Callahan said. “When he pitched he actually hit for himself too, which doesn’t happen all that often.”
Larson finished the season with 12 home runs and 19 doubles and hopes to continue to improve for his senior campaign next year.
“I love watching baseball and studying different players swings,” he said. “I think having a good idea of what my mechanics should be before I start crafting my swing in the preseason is the key to success for me.”