C-SD grad wins na­tional crown, gets drafted by Reds

Hard­ing has ath­letic ride with Miz­zou, is head­ing to sum­mer A-ball in Mon­tana

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By DAVID INSLEY dins­ley@star­dem.com

CAM­BRIDGE — Ju­nior Hard­ing, a 2014 Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester High grad­u­ate, earned another lau­rel on June 3.

The right-han­der, who went 3-1 dur­ing the sea­son, his red-shirt sopho­more cam­paign, pitched the fi­nal two in­nings as the Chipola (Fla.) Col­lege baseball team de­feated San Jac­into (Texas) 15-6 to win the Na­tional Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion Divi­sion I World Series crown.

Hard­ing’s great month con­tin­ued by be­ing drafted by the Cincin­nati Reds on June 14.

In his near-decade-anda-half play­ing baseball, Ju­nior Hard­ing has de­vel­oped some im­pres­sive habits.

Whether it’s his abil­ity to keep his fast­ball buzzing in the 90s late into games, strike out op­po­nents with fright­en­ing reg­u­lar­ity, or most re­cently, be on the mound to help his team win a cham­pi­onship, it’s on the list.

A 2014 Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester High grad­u­ate who pitched a com­plete game as a ju­nior to win the Class 1A state baseball ti­tle, Hard­ing earned another lau­rel on June 3.

The right-han­der, who went 3-1 dur­ing the sea­son, his red-shirt sopho­more cam­paign, pitched the fi­nal two in­nings as the Chipola (Fla.) Col­lege baseball team de­feated San Jac­into (Texas) 15-6 to win the Na­tional Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion Divi­sion I World Series crown.

The road to the na­tional ti­tle — and be­ing drafted by the Cincin­nati Reds on Wed­nes­day — has not been with­out a bump or two, though.

In 2015, af­ter a strong fresh­man year at Chipola, Hard­ing was drafted by the Kansas City Roy­als. He didn’t sign, though, and in­stead re­turned to col­lege. All was go­ing well — he con­tin­ued work to­ward his de­gree in sports man­age­ment — un­til health prob­lems nearly took him out of the game for good.

Un­cer­tain of his con­di­tion ini­tially, Hard­ing got sicker and sicker in the fall of 2015, and even­tu­ally wound up in in­ten­sive care for a long stint. Af­flicted with what was even­tu­ally di­ag­nosed as a nasty case of col­i­tis, he lost 20 pounds, and had to take a red shirt for the 2016 baseball sea­son, to re­cover from the ill­ness which he bat­tled for sev­eral months.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Cam­bridge-SD High grad­u­ate Ju­nior Hard­ing pitched the fi­nal two in­nings of Chipola (Fla.) Col­lege’s NJCAA Divi­sion-I-ti­tlewin­ning game on June 3, help­ing his team beat San Jac­into (Texas) Col­lege for the na­tional baseball ti­tle. He was drafted by the Cincin­nati Reds on Wed­nes­day in the 17th round.

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