Myleah Hardy was in a dead sprint.
She wasn’t sprinting because she was in danger of being thrown out on some routine ground ball. She wasn’t sprinting for a double or triple, either.
Seconds earlier, Hardy had sent a shot over the left-field wall and took off toward first with her hand raised. Instead of taking her usual stroll around the bases as she had done 16 other times this season following a home run, Hardy was ready to cross home plate as soon as possible.
MIDSTATE SOFTBALL RANKINGS:Columbia Academy remains in top-3
As she approached home plate, Hardy was greeted by a mob of her Columbia Academy teammates who were already cheering and jumping up and down. They had a good reason to be happy.
Hardy’s solo shot in a 2-0 win over Ardmore (Alabama) on Monday night was her 17th of the season, breaking the single-season school record of 16 that former Lady Bulldog Shelby Burchell set in 2005.
“When it came off of my bat, I knew that it was gone,” Hardy said. “My mindset at that at-bat was just a base hit. I wasn’t really thinking about a home run.
“This year has been special and to do it with a new team and new teammates, it’s been a great season so far.”
How her season has transpired is far from anything Hardy could have scripted.
Hardy transferred to Columbia Academy from Lawrence County prior to the school year and joined an experienced group returning several players who played on the Lady Bulldogs’ 2019 state championship team.
Hardy said she never felt out of place. Having played with several of the girls during the travel ball season, Hardy was immediately welcomed in.
That comfortability transitioned to her play at the plate as well.
From the jump, Hardy showed that she would be a force. She’s batting .515 this season with 10 doubles, 37 runs scored, 10 walks and only one strikeout.
Hardy’s 17 home runs and 56 RBIs lead the Midstate in each category, and she has hit a home run in eight consecutive games.
“She’s been solid for us all year long and been clutch in several situations,” Columbia Academy coach Seth Anderson said. “It might not be a home run every time but she hits the ball consistently almost every time she’s up to bat. And then there’s the power
“I knew what type of hitter she was, or at least what she could be, but to go out do it consistently is pretty remarkable.”
Reach Joe Spears at [email protected] or 731-343-4923. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @joe_spears7.