Zach Harmon and Austin Hunt jumped into the starting lineup as freshman and have helped Madison Central win four straight 44th District Tournament titles.
However, next season the teammates may turn into rivals. The two Central baseball standouts signed national letters of intent on Thursday — Harmon with Transylvania University and Hunt with Berea College. “We’ve had them for four years,” Central coach Steve Roof said. “They’ve played against great competition. They love the challenge. They love the big game. They’ve really been a lot of fun. They’ve elevated our program.” Transylvania (a Division III school in Lexington) and Berea (an NAIA Division II school) are not in the same conference, but the school’s baseball teams usually play at least once each season. Earlier this year, Transy swept a doubleheader from the Mountaineers, 5-3, 9-1. Harmon and Hunt have been two of the biggest contributors for the seventh-ranked Indians so far this season. Harmon is among the team leaders in batting average, stolen bases, on-base percentage and runs scored. He also has a team-best seven saves to go along with a 2.63 ERA and a 4-2 record. The senior has played three different infield positions (second, short and third) this season and could be called upon to fill many different roles for the Pioneers. “He’s a great athlete and I think he’s a young senior who will excel at the next level,” Roof said. “Both (Zach and Austin) are known around the 11th Region as great hitters.” Harmon also considered Berea College and Shawnee State and plans to major in business. “I choose Transy because its a good school academically,” Harmon said. “They have a good baseball program and I just think I have a great future there.” Hunt also considered Shawnee State and Pikeville, but the senior wanted to stay close to home for several reasons. “I wanted to be able to come back and hunt at my house,” said Hunt, whose nickname is Big Country. Once again this season, Hunt has been a dominant offensive force for Central. The senior Hunt leads the team during the regular season with a .459 batting average and 35 RBIs. In the district final on Wednesday against Model, Hunt was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. “It’s exciting anytime you can get a good player out of a good program you feel like you’ve done well,” Berea coach Ryan Hess said. “Coach Roof does a great job preparing the kids (for college) that the transition is so much easier for those kids.” When he joins this team next spring, Hunt will be re-united with former Madison Central teammate Lance Sheets. Harmon and Hunt are both certainly excited about the future, but they both want to end their high school careers on a high note. Central will be among the favorites when the 11th Region Tournament gets under way at Franklin County High School. “We’ve still get the region tournament to win,” Harmon said. “And then state,” Hunt added. Nathan Hutchinson, Richmond Register (5/28/10)