Brody Hardcastle Named To Indiana All-Star Baseball Team

Posted on June 23, 2017 in Baseball, Spring Sports

photo by C-T Senior Brody Hardcastle

photo by C-T
Senior Brody Hardcastle

BY SCOTT HUNT – shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

Andrew Lawvere and Brody Hardcastle have seen a lot of one another over the past four years looking across a baseball field.
In fact, the two recent high school graduates – Lawvere from Eastbrook and Hardcastle from Oak Hill – have been playing either together or as opponents since the tender age of 10, but mostly the latter, as Grant County and Central Indiana Conference rivals.
But both learned in the past two days they will complete their high school playing days together as teammates on the North All-Star team in the annual Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association’s North-South All-Star Series.
This year’s three-game set, the 43rd year for the showcase of Indiana’s top outgoing senior baseball players, is scheduled for July 15-16 at Ball State University. Hardcastle, Lawvere and Eastbrook coach Todd Farr, who was named a coach for the North team, will battle the South stars in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. July 15 with the conclusion scheduled for noon July 16.
Hardcastle and Lawvere share some similarities when it comes to their games on the field. Both have been four-year starters at catcher, though Hardcastle played games at second base for the Golden Eagles to fill in as an injury replacement last season.
After learning he was selected to play for the North team, Hardcastle said the news came a surprise.
“It’s pretty surreal, really. I wasn’t expecting it,” Hardcastle said. “I knew I got voted for the district team which is the first round of voting for the all stars, but coach (Shane) Edwards told me it would be pretty tough to get on so when he texted me (Wednesday) morning its was surreal.”
It may still be surreal, but Hardcastle’s offensive numbers for the season dictate the honor is well deserved.
He finished the season with a .480 batting average, second only to all-district teammate Braden Nelson’s .488, and finished with 47 hits, which is the second-highest hit total in Oak Hill baseball history. Hardcastle’s batting average was the fifth highest all-time for a Golden Eagle hitter.
Perhaps most impressively, Hardcastle struck out just once in 98 at bats in 2017.
Despite the numbers Hardcastle accrued, Edwards was also surprised when he learned of his player’s selection.
“I was really surprised. It’s not that Brody isn’t a great kid and deserves to be recognized for his accomplishments, but it is extremely hard to be voted on to this team,” Edwards said. “You’re one of the top 25 players in Northern Indiana as a senior.”
Hardcastle in the 10th Oak Hill player to earn a spot on the North All-Star team and follows Tyler Fairchild who pitched in last year’s series in Whiting. Edwards believes Hardcastle’s selection might be the most rewarding of his 15 years at Oak Hill.
“I was super excited, I’ve been excited for every kid I’ve coached to reach this honor, but I was really excited for Brody because I think it was a little bit of surprise,” Edwards said. “Our season wasn’t outstanding but he was a positive leader for us and helped us get to the point of having a winning season.
“He’s a kid who is a gamer, a competitor, a grinder – fill in the blank – he’s all of those,” he added. “He’s a kid that wants to win and wants to compete and wants to do well because he wants the team to do well.”
Hardcastle’s batting average was third highest in Grant County in 2017, and Lawvere laid claim to the top average.
The Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne-bound catcher batted .524 for the Panthers while pounding four home runs and driving in 19. While Lawvere said he has worked to improve his total game since his freshman season behind the plate, Eastbrook coach Todd Farr said the biggest improvement his star catcher made in his career was at the plate.
“When he came in (as a freshman) we knew he could catch and he had a strong arm, but he lacked the bat,” Farr said. “But he put a ton of work in and lot of hours with Mike Shirley down in Indy. It would be his bat coming on strong that he worked on really hard to improve.”
“He’s put a lot of time and effort into crafting his game and it was really fun to watch him grow over these past few years and develop into a really good player,” Farr continued. “It’s a tremendous honor for him to be picked for this and an even bigger honor for our school to have someone in it.”
Lawvere has spent his past several summers playing travel ball, and many of the players who will compete in the North-South series with and against will be familiar faces for him. He’s looking forward to the challenge and is thankful for the opportunity to play.
“It’s a good way to end the season and end my high school career, its a big accomplishment for me,” Lawvere said. “It took a lot of hard work to get there so it’s pretty good.
“I’ve played with a lot of these players in summer ball. I’ve caught many of the pitchers who are going to be there,” he added. “I know what they’re are capable of doing and what their game is. I’m not too worried about that.”
Farr wasn’t as surprised by Lawvere’s selection as he was by being named one of the North’s coaches. He said he’ll have a prime seat for Lawvere’s final high school game.
“To be honest, I was really shocked off the year that we had,” Farr said. “It was encouraging and humbling that my coaching peers recognized me and picked me to do something like this. It’s definitely an honor. I’m excited to be a part of it and I’ll get to watch Andrew a little closer from the dugout.”
Hardcastle said he and Lawvere have been teammates in travel ball, starting at 10 years old, but he’s excited for the chance to once again play together with his cross-county rival.
“We know each other pretty well and its going to be a pretty cool experience for both of us,” Hardcastle said. “I’m really looking forward to it and I know he probably is too. He had a great four years at Eastbrook and I’m just looking forward to finally playing on his same team and not playing against him.”

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