Blaine Hardy, a former standout pitcher and 2005 graduate of Edmonds-Woodway High School, is living in the moment, one which has taken him to AA baseball and a step closer to the Majors. But don’t think Hardy is looking ahead; he’s patient, just like his pitching. His concept is pitch-by-pitch — you can’t get three outs without the first out.
“Pitchers I’ve seen in the past try to strike every batter out and I’ve noticed once those pitchers start facing the better hitters, they mentally don’t make it,” Hardy said in a phone interview Monday. “They start walking people and eventually they get so messed up in the head that their pitching goes from something that can be so simple to the hardest thing in the world, because they are worried about walking someone when they haven’t even thrown the first pitch.”
Hardy was drafted as a junior in the 22nd round out of Lewis-Clark State College (2008), an NAIA powerhouse and perennial national champion, and was on the Lewis-Clark team that won the 2008 national NAIA baseball championship. He was first sent to Idaho Falls Chukars of the (rookie-level) Pioneer League and was recently promoted to AA baseball’s Northwest Arkansas Naturals; a team affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
“(Minor league baseball) was very different from college ball,” Hardy said. “Personally, I like it a lot more because it allows me to concentrate more on baseball and not have to worry about a five-page paper or test after the game.”
But Hardy was quick to acknowledge how playing college baseball had its perks, and how it helped prepare him for the challenges ahead.
“Class A baseball was a bit of a culture shock due to the very small town of Burlington, Iowa,” Hardy said. “This was my first full season and I saw a lot of players get homesick, especially the high school draft picks going into their second season. College is a good route because it kind of eases you into being away from your family for the first time, not to mention I got a national championship ring out of it.”
Hardy’s steady performance ended with him moving up to AA ball, where he’s pitched a total of eight innings in three games, while giving up just three hits, striking out four batters and not allowing any runs.
“I’ve only been in AA for a couple weeks now but the biggest thing I’ve noticed about the hitters is that they are a lot more patient at the plate, which requires you to throw strikes. Not to mention the higher you go, the more fine you have to be with your pitches.The strike zone also shrinks a bit but is more consistent due to better umpires.”
Hardy even has advice for youth baseball players.
“One thing young aspiring baseball players need to understand is that, yes,the players in (professional) ball are very talented but it’s still the same game. The biggest difference that changes is the pace of the game. It gets faster the farther you get, so you need to make sure that you’re mentally prepared for the best-and-worst-case scenarios.”
Warrior baseball player to attend MIT
Senior Brandon Lowe, a left-handed pitcher on Edmonds-Woodway baseball team, will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. in the fall. Lowe was one of 14 students from the Seattle area accepted into MIT, from a worldwide application pool of 17,000. He will continue to play baseball in college.
Area high school results – week of April 12
Monday April 12
Edmonds-Woodway 5, Shorewood 2
Singles Mackenzie Bang, S, d. Amanda Waldron, 6-2, 7-6; Jane Hong, EW, d. Francesca O’Malley, 7-5, 6-0; Michelle Nelson, EW, d. Francisca Perez, 7-5, 6-3; Sarah Oh, S, d. Michelle Tran, 7-5, 6-3
Doubles Sophie Roben-Sarah Fine, EW, d. Wuen Ong-Julie Wang, 6-0, 6-3; Annie Wilson-Liz Wilson, EW, d. Lilly Adams-Mary Buswell; Mickaela Valdez-Mackenzie O’Brien, EW, d. Stephanie Ngy-Maddie Welsh
Tuesday April 13
Mountlake Terrace 5, Meadowdale 2
Andrew Suh (M) 1-3, RBI
Edmonds-Woodway 6, Lynnwood 0
Austin Jones (EW) 2-3, 2 RBI; Joe Lopresti (EW) 2B; Andy Willcock (EW) 2B
Derek Callahan 7 IP 0H, 0R, 11k (NO-HITTER)
Shorewood 8, Meadowdale 4
Milner (M) 3-3, 2 R, RBI, 2B; Studioso (M) 2-4, 3B
Edmonds-Woodway 10, Mariner 0
Katelynn Lafferty (EW) 2-2, 2B; Roper (EW) 1-3, 3B; Rumpel (EW) 2-2, 2 RBI, 3B
Edmonds-Woodway 1, Shorewood 0
Jeremy Wentzel (unassisted)
Singles Amanda Waldron EW d. Maddie Smith 6-0, 6-2; Jane Hong EW d. Hannah Ham 6-0, 6-0; Michelle Nelson EW d. Rebecca Huang 6-2, 6-1; Michelle Tran EW d. Nasim Badribigi 6-0, 6-1.
Doubles Mikayla Valdez and Mackenzie O’Brien EW d. Grace Sim and Miranda Qassis 6-2, 6-3; Kyla Caddey and Shelby Swanson (L) d. Brooke Lee and Lindsay Giles 6-2, 6-3; Anna Bode and Siobhan Standaert EW def. Rozelle Zoleta and Holly Vannoy 6-2, 6-2.
Wednesday April 14
Mountlake Terrace 8, Meadowdale 0,
Edmonds-Woodway 13, Lynnwood 1
Derek Callahan 1-3, 3B; Joe Culp 2-4, 3 RBI, 2B; Joe Lopresti 2-3, 2B, R, RBI, HR; Ben Roquet 3-4, 3 RBI, 2B
Edmonds-Woodway 6, Shorecrest 1
Singles Meera Limaya S d. Amanda Waldron 4-6, 6-1, 6-4; Jane Hong EW d. Rebecca Calderon 6-0, 6-0; Michelle Nelson EW def. Anabel Tefera 6-0, 6-3; Michelle Tran EW d. Rahwa Ghebremichael 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles Sarah Fine-Sophie Roben EW d. Haley Monson-Janie Uppinghouse 6-3, 6-0; Annie Wilson-Liz Wilson EW def. Meghan Saunders-Keegan Monson 6-3, 6-0; Mikala Valdez-MacKenzie O’Brien EW def. Kimi Smith-Havilah Glesener 6-3, 7-6.
Thursday April 15
Edmonds-Woodway 7, Glacier Peak 0
Singles Amanda Waldron EW d. Catherine Jorgensen, 6-4, 6-0; Jane Hong EW d. Nadean Al-ali, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0; Michelle Nelson EW d. Amchelle Clendenin, 6-4, 6-4; Michelle Tran EW d. Tabitha Babcock, 6-1, 6-4
Doubles Sophie Roben-Sarah Fine EW d. Monica Gillie-Sarah Desautels, 6-3, 6-1; Mackenzie O’Brien-Mikala Valdez EW d. Sam Long-Sami Boggs, 6-4, 6-2; Carlee Ummel-Siobhan Standoert EW d. Anna Darling-Kelcie Ranniger, 6-2, 6-0
Friday April 16
Kamiak 5, Meadowdale 2
Haukap (M) 3-4, 2 RBI
Mountlake Terrace 6, Edmonds-Woodway 1
Brooklyn Bailey (EW) 2-3, 3B, R
Shorecrest 4, Edmonds-Woodway 1
Glenn Paden (S) scored two goals; Ian Adams (S) added two assists
Solomon Stewart scored a goal, added an assist; Patrick Gove shutout
(By Michael Johnson, My Edmonds News sports contributor)