Lenape High School leadoff hitter Tommy Gardiner stood in the batter’s box facing a 1-2 count. On the next pitch, he unloaded, launching the curveball over the left-center field fence to give the Lenape Indians a 1-0 lead over Camden Catholic. The Indians would go on to win 4-1 on Senior Night.
“It felt good to get my teammates fired up.” Gardiner said. “It was an important game to jump start a big seven-game win streak.”
Gardiner signed his National Letter of Intent to play baseball at the University of Maryland on November 9.
“I chose Maryland for the great coaching staff and the good education,” Gardiner said. “I want to win a national championship and I feel we can win one here.”
The 5’8, 140 lb. second-baseman will have some familiar faces on the roster as he is already well acquainted with fellow commits Drew Wilden, Chris Alleyne and Richie Schiekofer—all four are from the South Jersey/Philadelphia area.
A great addition to Maryland Terps baseball. Tommy Gardiner signs NLI on 11/9. Congrats to Tommy & family. #goterps pic.twitter.com/aS0bc502MY
— Phil Fiore (@CoachFiore34) November 19, 2016
Gardiner, a native of Mount Laurel, N.J., started playing baseball around the age of five. Originally a catcher, he made the move to the middle infield seven years later. In eighth grade, Gardiner attended an All Out Baseball (AOB) showcase, participating with some of the best high school players in the area.
“[Gardiner] has a special ability to barrel the ball up on the bat,” AOB Coach Guy Lynam said. “His wrists are strong and he knows how to use his body well and transfer 100 percent of his weight into the baseball.”
Lynam raves about his defensive skills as well, saying he has the utmost confidence in him to make plays.
“I’ve seen [Gardiner] play just under 1000 games.” Lynam said. “Literally, I’ve never seen the kid make an error.”
As much as Gardiner is talented, it’s his work ethic that really impresses Lynam.
“I’ve seen Tommy play since he was nine years old,” he said, “When [Gardiner] started playing on our teams he was probably lower in the lineup. An eight or nine hitter because of size.”
But Gardiner’s size, or lack thereof, gave him a chip on his shoulder which helped fuel an unstoppable determination. Gardiner’s hard work and dedication made him into “one of the best pure hitters in [ABO’s] program,” according to Lynam.
While he is excited to get started at the University of Maryland, Gardiner’s focus is currently on his high school baseball team.
“Every year we’ve made it pretty far [in the playoffs]; we’ve never won a state championship.” Gardiner said. “We’d like to do that this year.”