David Forst of Encino offers no apologies for choosing schools based on academics instead of athletics.
In Little League, he competed on all-star teams with former Notre Dame High and USC shortstop Ryan Stromsborg, who is playing in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization.
But Forst chose to leave the Valley to attend Brentwood School on the Westside, hardly a place to get noticed in baseball.
When it came time to pick a college, he went to Harvard, known for producing presidents, not major leaguers.
Forst, 21, a senior shortstop at Harvard, is the team’s leading hitter and is considered the top defensive shortstop in the Ivy League. He’s batting .398 with 27 runs batted in for the Crimson (25-9).
Last week against Northeastern at Fenway Park in Boston, Forst went four for four, with two doubles off the Green Monster. In a five-game stretch, he went 10 for 16 with seven RBIs.
“I didn’t come here with the idea I couldn’t play professional baseball,” he said. “I always knew if you could do well at Harvard, you’d have the same chance as anyone else.”
Last year, Forst helped Harvard upset top-seeded UCLA, 7-2, in the opening game of the NCAA Midwest Regional.
Last summer, he batted over .300 in the New England Collegiate League, which allows only wooden bats. “I’ve always felt I could compete with anybody in the country,” he said.
Forst will graduate in June with a degree in sociology. But he desperately wants the chance to play professional baseball.
“‘I don’t know who’s watching, but I want to prove myself at the professional level,” he said. “If someone gave me a chance, I know I could get it done.”