Written and Media by Brianna Anderson.
It’s the bottom of the ninth, bases are loaded, tied game, and full count for the championship game of the conference tournament. It’s your senior year and you’re up to bat with two outs. All the pressure is on you. What’s going through your head?
“All I have to do is get a base hit and we win.”
“If I strike out will everyone hate me?”
All of a sudden, the long hours of practice, conditioning, and games flash right before your eyes. CRACK, GRAND SLAM!
In The Beginning
Senior baseball player, Mike Hardin, has played baseball since he was five years old in his hometown, St. Louis Missouri. He got into baseball because of his family’s interest and started with t-ball, coach pitch, and then went to high school and college ball. Third base and catcher is his main position but he can play just about anywhere.
Hardin’s father was his coach up until high school. The competitive edge he has is from his father pushing him to become better. Hardin commented on his father’s influence,
He is a big reason why I am the way I am now.”
Throughout high school, Hardin resumed playing catcher until three-fourths of the way through. His coach put him in the outfield because he was too fast to stay behind the plate. Hardin didn’t care much for the outfield until he realized the importance of it and how easy it was to play that position.
During his senior year of high school, Hardin verbally committed to Missouri State. Due to scholarship issues, he decided to go to Meramec College on a full-ride baseball scholarship. He took a year off before going to Meramec but almost quit when he got there because of an argument with the coach. The coach said that Hardin was not good enough to play college baseball. When he decided to play summer ball, he remembered why he began playing in the first place, for the love of the game.
Harden verbally committed to Truman State that summer but found out two weeks before the semester started that the Physical Therapy program was full and lost desire to attend. During the summer league games, Andy Rincker, an assistant coach at GC, saw Harden play and invited him to visit Greenville College. The rest is history. Now, he is an Exercise Science major and continues to love baseball. His favorite part about baseball at GC is the guys on the team.
They are a big part of what keeps me motivated.”
After Harden graduates in May 2017, he plans on pursuing baseball but would like to stay close to home. He would like to work as a physical therapist but eventually wants to be a PT for athletes.
Harden’s grandmother, also known as grams, has been there since he was born:
She is always at the games no matter what. If we have a game that is three to five hours away she will drive there.”
If she isn’t at the game, she calls him to ask how it went.
After May, Harden’s baseball season will be over. Harden gave some advice:
Soak it in, because it’s really weird to believe that in a few short months it will all be over.”
He encourages everyone that plays a sport to soak it in. There are times when sports are frustrating and hard, but he encourages players to experience it all.
It’s difficult for Harden to believe that his baseball career at GC is almost over, but that grand slam isn’t too far away with a swing like his.