Beau Gardner is one of the leading hitters for the Juno Beach Loggerheads. He’s third in hits and runs, second in RBI, and leads the Loggerheads in walks. Gardner also patrols the outfield while running down balls in the gap and crashing into outfield walls to sell out for teammates.
The Georgia native was gearing up for his 2022 campaign at Florence-Darlington Tech University in South Carolina when he dropped a weight on his foot. Gardner then needed to recover from a broken foot and missed the entire season. His story of incredible perseverance and passion makes his success in the Collegiate League of the Palm Beaches awesome.
Dominic Stearn talked with Gardner to learn more about him.
Q: How would you assess your performance thus far on the CLPB?
A: I had broken my foot before I got here, so this is where I was coming to develop. I couldn’t walk or do anything. I needed to come out here and play, and I started the season really well. I got invited to the all star game, so I’m very, very happy with how I’ve been doing. I’m struggling right now, but that’s how baseball is. Sometimes you need to work around it.
Q: What was that recovery process like for you?
A: It was bad. I didn’t walk for about four months and went to physical therapy three days a week. They were trying to teach me how to walk because I couldn’t use my right leg. I couldn’t go to practice and couldn’t swing a baseball bat. I was just doing school and it was rough. I spent a good amount of money at physical therapy and I honestly didn’t think I was ever going to walk again because they told me that I broke it pretty good.
Q: How long did it take after you broke your foot to be able to begin baseball activities?
A: I got cleared on April 28, and we reported down here May 30. I had about three weeks to get prepared, and it was a grind. I went for three weeks every day and worked my ass off knowing that I was coming down here and needed to show out because I didn’t play all spring. They say a minor setback sets up a major comeback. I’m just grateful.
Q: You were an all star. What did that mean to you considering what you had been through to be named an all star?
A: I’m not a very big guy, so I get looked through a lot because of the bigger guys all around me. When coach Jay said my name as an all star, I was like, “wow.” That just shows that all the coaches see that I put out hard work on the field and I go until they tell me I can’t go anymore. Some kids didn’t see that because when you’re hurt, you’re just sitting on the side of the dugout. I have to be out there. When I got the chance to be in the all star game, I loved it. I called my parents as soon as I found out.
Q: Not only that, but you got a hit. Where does getting a hit in that all star game and playing in a major league ballpark rank in terms of your baseball memories?
A: I told myself that I need one hit. We were playing the best of the best. All those kids were throwing heat. We had fans in a major league park. It couldn’t have been better.
Q: You talked about it a minute ago, getting overlooked. One thing that Riley Carter, one of your teammates, said was that you have such a big heart. What does it mean to hear that from a teammate?
A: It’s amazing. The night that he said he hugged me. Man, it was emotional. I’ve been through a lot with COVID and breaking my foot. I don’t lose my love for the game, and I never will. When you break your foot, you gotta go 110% to get back out there. I’ve been overlooked because I’m not 6’5” or 250 pounds. Riley is a big boy, and for someone to tell everybody that, it just means a lot. I almost broke down in tears when he told me that. I see it in myself, but the fact that someone else is seeing that and saying to everybody, it’s amazing.
Q: Is that something that you’ve always prided your game on, your heart and your passion for it?
A: Yes. No matter what the circumstances are, even if I’m going 0-5, I don’t care. I will still go 110% because I love the game. One day, the game is going to be taken away from me. It almost was.
Q: I know you’re not going back to Florence-Darlington Tech this year. What is one thing you would say to a potential future coach to try and recruit yourself?
A: I’m gonna give you 110% and I’m gonna go until someone tells me I can’t go anymore. I love the game too much. It sucked getting told about a week or two before school starts that they were bringing in guys and that they didn’t know if I am going to be able to play. I’m doing well here, and I’m showing it to all the coaches. Future coaches should know that I’m the guy who gives it my all. I’m 110%, 24/7. I love the game so much.