Young Wildcats have been a ‘team without a home’
Destrehan freshman pitcher Abbie Hall fires a strike in a non-district game. The Lady Wildcats have plenty of young talent, and will only improve as the season goes on, head coach Jacob Thompson said.
"We are a really young team and we don't have much experience," Destrehan head coach Jacob Thompson said. "But we are pretty talented and I can already tell the team has gotten better as the season has progressed."
That the team has played well so far may come as a surprise for some. The Lady Wildcats return only three starters this season, including Kayla Kessling, Amanda Rodriguez and Aimee Sylvester. They also lost their top player last year, Desiree Harvey, to graduation.
Harvey is now playing at Texas Tech.
Making matters worse, the Lady Wildcats have been without a home this season. Destrehan High School is currently undergoing improvements to its athletic facilities and the softball field probably won't be finished until the end of March.
That means Destrehan has had to practice at the East Bank Bridge Park or at Ormond and has only played two home games this year. They will likely have to play all of their early district games on the road.
"We have had to be really creative when it comes to scheduling practice and games," Thompson said. "We are like the 2005 Saints - a team without a home. That has actually been the biggest challenge for us so far."
But the team hasn't let that bother them. In fact, they have already gotten a signature win this year, beating Terrebonne, who was a district champion last year, 4-3.
"It was a tight game the whole way through and went back and forth," Thompson said. "It was a really good win for us because we fought hard for it."
A constant in all the team's wins this season has been the ability to hit the ball well. Destrehan is currently batting .373 as a team, with lone senior Kessling hitting .480. Thompson has also been impressed with his two young pitchers, sophomore Elana Anderson and freshman Abbie Hall.
"Right now, they just need to work on getting consistent," he said. "They both have the skills and they have improved a lot as they pick up experience. If we can get consistency from both of them, we will be successful."
Great pitching is a must in District 6-5A, which Thompson equates to the Southeastern Conference.
"It's always tough and it is one of the top two districts in the state," he said. "Five out of our six teams could make the playoffs every year if the state used power ratings."
Instead, the top two teams in the district make the playoffs, with a third being chosen as a wildcard.
This season, Thompson said that Hahnville will be the team to beat. The Lady Tigers went undefeated in district play last year and only lost two seniors. However, Thompson is quick to point out that every team will be difficult to face.
"Hahnville will be good again, but then you have St. Amant who has won five of the last 10 state championships," Thompson said. "East Ascension and Dutchtown are also tough every year, so our district is very challenging."
While the Wildcats did drop their district opener to Dutchtown by a 3-0 score, they can redem themselves today when they take on Hahnville.
It will be Hahnville’s district opener.
The game gets underway at Hahnville at 4 p.m.
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