By Robert Wilson
This is Brian Hardy’s final season as Germantown’s baseball coach and the Mavericks hope to give him a great sendoff with a deep run in the MHSAA Class 6A playoffs.
Germantown kept Hardy’s coaching career going this week by sweeping Lewisburg in the best-of-three series in the first round.
Germantown, the No. 3 seed from Region 4, improved to 17-9 and meets Hernando, 21-6 and the No. 1 seed from Region 3, in a best-of-three series later this week in the second round. Hernando is coached by David Lara, who was at Brandon from 1994-2005, head coach from 2000-2005. Lewisburg, the No. 2 seed from Region 2, finished 23-5.
Hardy had two outstanding pitching performances this week.
Junior right-hander and Pearl River Community College commitment J.P. Robertson allowed six hits, one earned run with nine strikeouts and two walks in six innings for the pitching victory in a 10-1 win in the first game Friday night at Lewisburg in Olive Branch. Senior left-hander and Pearl River CC signee Connor Ware allowed four hits, two earned runs with 10 strikeouts and only one walk in seven innings for a complete game victory in a 4-3 win in the second game Saturday night at Germantown in Gluckstadt.
Junior catcher and Meridian CC commitment Hampton Ross had three singles, Ware two singles and two runs batted in, junior designated hitter Andrew Dinkelacker two RBIs and junior center fielder and leadoff hitter Lawson Gardner a double, a single and scored two runs to lead Germantown in the first game.
Senior left fielder Jacob King hit a bases loaded single with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning for the winning run in the second game. He also hit a solo home run to give Germantown a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior first baseman and Meridian CC signee Cole Burton had and senior third baseman and Hinds CC signee Cameron Hill had two singles each.
“This group has been through a lot this year,” Hardy said. “We started the year with six guys out due to injuries. But they never whined, complained, or made any excuses. We’ve had guys step in and have to play many different roles. They are an extremely fun group to be around. They all truly love playing together.”
Hardy is the only head baseball coach Germantown has ever had. He was an assistant at Madison Central and started the Germantown program 11 seasons ago. Hardy has a 219-89-2 record (a 71.1 winning percentage) with five division championships. He has had 21 all-state players, 49 college players and 80 all-division players at Germantown. Hardy has been the division Coach of the Year six times and was an All-Star Game coach in 2015. He has led the Mavericks to the third round of the playoffs four times during his time at Germantown.
But it’s time, in Hardy’s mind, to step aside at the end of this season because of his family. He will remain at Germantown next year in various roles in the athletic department, helping with administrative duties and fundraising, in addition to teaching Driver’s Education.
“Germantown High School is my family’s home,” Hardy said. “My wife, Allison, and I have watched our sons (Brooks, 14, and Reed, 8) grow up around Maverick Field and Germantown High. We have no desire to leave the Madison County School District that has been so loyal to us for 22 years. We just want to be able to enjoy the same things all parents want to enjoy – time spent together as a family supporting our school and community. God has truly blessed our family in so many ways and one of those ways was leading our family to the Germantown community 11 years ago.”
Hardy played baseball for his father, Bobby, at Philadelphia High and Neshoba Central High in the mid 1990s. He played at East Central CC and Belhaven College. Hardy was assistant baseball coach at Madison Central for 11 seasons. He was an assistant on Madison Central’s state championship teams in 2002 and 2009 under Gregg Perry, who was recently named athletic director at Germantown.