Hardy stepping up for SouthsidePublished 6:48pm Monday, May 13, 2013
CHOCOWINITY — Pitching and defense wins playoffs games, but you have to score runs to take a lead and that’s where Tia Hardy comes in for the Southside softball team.
Hardy has been hot of late, as she drove in the game-winning run in the regular season finale to give the Seahawks a 1-0 victory over rival Northside and plated the deciding runs during the team’s 10-0 victory over Jones in the first round of the NCHSAA 1-A state playoffs.
As the Seahawks resume their playoff run tonight at home against Camden, the team’s No. 5 hitter is batting .474 on the year with an on-base percentage of .515 and right now there may not be a hotter hitter in their lineup.
“This season’s been going great,” Hardy said. “I started out not hitting that good but now I’m hitting well and I just want to keep it up.”
The sophomore slugger has grown leaps and bounds since her freshman year and with her long reach her lefty bat is capable of covering the entire strike zone.
“She’s been more comfortable this year,” Southside coach John Lohman said. “She’s seen all the pitching for a full season so she’s ready to go. The one thing about Tia is that it doesn’t matter where you pitch her she’s going to hit it. You could put it a foot off the plate and she’s going to reach it. If it’s up high she’s going to rope it into right field. When she’s at the plate I expect the ball to go somewhere, and somewhere hard.”
With Hardy becoming a menace at the plate, she joins forces with Sondra Sparks and Marlin Edwards to form one of the more dangerous No, 3, 4, 5 combos around.
“Sondra has power, Marlin has power and Tia’s got power,” Lohman said. “If we get (leadoff hitter) Savannah (Mumford) on and move her over with a bunt I got three girls that can hit her in from second base no problem.”
Defensively, Hardy as been just as valuable at first base and when asked about her importance to the team Lohman instantly spoke about her fielding.
“First of all, defensively she’s very good,” Lohman said. “She’s going to scoop stuff, she can reach, she’s athletic. If you get the throw somewhere close she’s going to make that catch and that’s enormous.”