Harder hopes for bright future at Emmanuel College

  • Senior Brighton Harder went 15-for-17 in her return from injury at the end of her senior year, reaching base all 17 times.
    Senior Brighton Harder went 15-for-17 in her return from injury at the end of her senior year, reaching base all 17 times.

Equipped with blazing speed, a cannon for an arm and a knack to get on base, LCHS’s Brighton Harder played an integral role on the LCHS varsity softball team for the past four seasons.
And, during that time, the senior centerfielder caught the attention of several colleges and universities interested in utilizing her talents at the collegiate level.
So, it came as no surprise when Harder signed to take her skills to the next level at a recent signing ceremony held at the LCHS auditorium.
Harder opted to continue her softball career at Emmanuel College where she is sure to continue to turn heads when she suits up for the Lions.
“I liked that it was relatively close to home,” said Harder. “They aren’t a great team, but the coaches there are trying to build something great and I wanted to be a part of something like that. It reminds me a lot of Lumpkin County when I got to high school.”
Harder knows a good bit about turning a program into a consistent contender from her four years with the Lady Indians. The four-year starter helped Lumpkin reach the State Playoffs in all four years she played for the team.
“She’s been a four-year varsity player for us and we made the State Playoffs all four years she was a part of our program,” said LCHS head softball coach Joseph Jones. “She was named to the All-Region team twice, in her junior and senior seasons. And, she was 72-of-73 in stolen bases during her high school career which is amazing. We appreciate everything she has done for our softball program.”
For Harder, being a part of a team is the biggest incentive for wanting to continue her softball career at the collegiate level.
“Mostly, my teammates are my biggest inspiration,” Harder said. “Being a part of a team really makes me want to work harder for not just myself but for my teammates as well. Working with them pushes me harder and makes me want to strive to want it more.”
Harder faced adversity in her senior season with the Lady Indians, suffering a broken arm after being hit by a pitch in the final game of the team’s summer schedule. The injury forced Harder to miss all but the final two weeks of the regular season, something the senior outfielder had never faced before. In her return to the diamond, Harder got right back into the groove of things and went 15-of-17 at the plate, reaching base in all 17 at-bats, in the final two weeks of the season before taking part in the GHSA State Playoffs.
It was a difficult time for the self-described competitor.
“Having to watch from the dugout was excruciating because I am very competitive,” Harder said. “But, getting back on the field was great. I loved playing again and it was great to be able to help my teammates again.”
Harder and the Lady Indians advanced to the GHSA Elite Eight in her senior season, allowing the centerfielder to make her first trip to Columbus for the State Championship.
And, the memory of making it to the State Playoffs is something that Harder says she will remember fondly after she graduates.
“There’s so many good memories,” Harder said. “But, the last game at home before we went to State was special. Everyone was all-in and happy and in to the game. I got that last hit and that feeling after we won was amazing. Nothing can explain the feeling I felt. It was great.”
While hoping to make an immediate impact on the Lions’ softball team, Harder will also focus on studying physical therapy while attending Emmanuel College.
Harder has already left a legacy of greatness on the diamond during her time at LCHS, but hopes that she is remembered for her kindness when her time there is over.
“I want people to remember me as being humble and nice,” Harder said. “I was friends with almost everyone here, so I hope that people remember that about me.”
With a list of stellar accomplishments, a determination and work ethic to always do her best and a smile that could light up the world, Harder has already become a Lumpkin legend on the softball diamond and is sure to keep her fantastic softball career moving in the right direction when she joins the Emmanuel College Lions next season.