D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - In the midst of a whirlwind, life-changing week, Dylan Hardy takes a few moments to himself in the stadium where it all began.
"Just so many memories," Hardy said as he looks upon the D'Iberville outfield. "It just really pushed me to be the best player that I can, just try to represent this."
Just a few years removed from his playing days with the Warriors, the D'Iberville product is now a Major League Baseball draftee.
"To see a dream you've pursued your whole life actually take place, just get the opportunity to play professional baseball," Hardy said. "The past week has just been unreal, it's hard to describe."
The Boston Red Sox first reached out to Hardy in the fall, and kept in touch throughout his entire junior year at South Alabama. The conversations culminated in a draft-day phone call he'll never forget.
"(The Red Sox scout) called me and he was asking if I was ready, and I was like 'yep, bring it on,'" Hardy said with a smile. "Once my name came up on TV and everything, we all kind of went crazy. My brother just came running from his house and came in screaming. It was really cool, it was a once-in-a-lifetime feeling."
With his 13th round, 400th overall draft selection, the 5'11, 175 pound prospect heads to Boston projected to play center field, and determined to carry his love of the game into the professional ranks.
"They just tell me to have fun. This is a opportunity that not many people get. They just tell me to have fun and make the most of it. It's the same game that I've played my whole life."
It may be hard to believe the 2017 Sun Belt Conference batting champion was once a high schooler on the Coast with only one Division One offer. However, Hardy used the support of his hometown to maximize each and every opportunity, and plans to now represent D'Iberville on the national stage.
"I'll always have it on my back, really," Hardy said. "I represent it, and it's something that I live by."
Hardy flew to Boston Sunday to sign his professional contract, and said the plan is to then join the Lowell Spinners of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League to begin his journey up the Minor League ranks.