Just like every other aspiring MLB draft pick, Harrison Central's Brendan Hardy followed along closely as names were announced over the last couple of days.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Hardy stepped away for a short break.
“I've been tracking it all day,” he said. “From the 10th round on, I started at 11 this morning tracking every round. The one time I put my phone down and went to the restroom, I come back and I had like 50 text messages in 5 minutes.”
It was then that he realized the New York Mets were calling to inform him that he was chosen in the 31st round as the 920th selection overall.
Hardy was elated, working through brief bouts of laughter as he discussed the news.
“I'm just very excited,” he said.
The right-handed pitcher had the privilege of informing his dad of the news.
“I just saw this really serious face out of him and then I got a tear shed,” Hardy said. “He got the same call when he was in high school.”
William Hardy was an outfielder at Carver High School in Montgomery, Alabama, and played college ball at Alabama State. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and played a couple of seasons in their minor-league system.
The younger Hardy now has a decision to make — sign with the Mets or go to Jones County Junior College as planned.
Wednesday's draft selection was the culmination of a lot of hard work.
“It feels like a sigh of relief,” he said. “Growing up, I was always the last kid. Travel teams, I'd be one of the last to get picked up. I'd be batting in the nine hole. When I got to high school everything started changing.”
It was after a game at Hancock High School this year when Hardy first realized that he may have the option of going pro when a Mets scout introduced himself.
“If you could have seen my face, you would have thought I had a heart attack,” he said. “I thought he would say something like 'Southern Miss' because that's, like, local. The next game I pitched at, it was the Twins and the Blue Jays.”
Of those three teams, it was the Mets who showed the most interest.
Hardy has a fastball that has hit as high as 94 miles an hour and consistently stays at 89-91. He finished 6-1 with a 1.51 ERA in nine appearances as a senior, striking out 69 in 51 innings.
The Mets haven't talked financial details yet and that will be a key part of negotiations if they are to land the 6-foot-4, 175-pound right-hander.
“If they don't come up with the right money, we're not going to go,” Hardy said. “I'll just go to JCJC and try again after a year. If an SEC school comes up with a good offer, I might have to go SEC. That's my dream — to play college.”
First-year Harrison Central head coach Neil Frederic was excited to see his former player get the opportunity after his senior year.
“It's the pinnacle of baseball,” he said. “There's nothing like having your name called.”