It’s been a while since Arizona softball welcomed a player from the junior college ranks. If you’re going to add one, though, the most decorated athlete in NJCAA history is a good choice. That’s who the Wildcats get with former Phoenix College pitcher Brianna Hardy whose commitment was announced on Aug. 17.
Hardy won just about everything she was eligible to win at the junior college level, both as an individual and as a part of a Phoenix College team that won back-to-back national titles. Now, she will return to Southern Arizona where she starred at Buena High School in Sierra Vista during her prep career.
Due to the pandemic, Hardy spent four years at Phoenix College, starting in 2019. She led the Bears to the NJCAA DII title series three times. In her freshman season, the team lost, but they came back strong in 2021 and 2022, winning back-to-back championships.
She was selected as an All-American by both the NJCAA and the NFCA multiple times while striking out over 1,000 batters and winning over 100 games. She was named the NJCAA DII Pitcher of the Year three times and Player of the Year twice. In 2021, she won the Betty Jo Graber Award which goes to the best female athlete in NJCAA. That same year she was the NJCAA DII tournament MVP.
Hardy and the Bears came to Tucson on Oct. 30, 2021 for a fall ball game. In perhaps the best example of the change in competition level that Hardy will have to navigate, the Wildcats had 11 hits that day and seven runs. Four of the runs were earned due to PC’s three errors. The Bears only managed one hit and one run in six innings against Hanah Bowen. Jessie Fontes pitched a clean seventh inning, striking out two and walking one.
The addition of Hardy gives the Wildcats four pitchers. She joins junior Devyn Netz, Princeton transfer Ali Blanchard, and freshman Sydney Somerndike. Hardy will have one year to play.