Destrehan began putting things together this season after what head coach Chris Mire called a low point in two straight losses on what was an eight-game road trip – he credited his players for committing to one another that they would turn this ship around.
That they’ve done. Since consecutive losses to Vandebilt Catholic and Barbe that saw DHS outscored 22-1 over the two games, the Wildcats have played their best baseball of the season – going 8-3 in their last 11 games, with the three losses each coming by just one run.
This has become a hard team to beat.
“We always preach that it’s a lot easier when you’re playing for each other, playing for your teammates and the team,” Mire said. “It keeps you from putting too much pressure on yourself. I think guys just started to really buy in and play together. The defense has gotten much better as well and that’s been important.”
Be it starters from day one or players earning more time, more and more contributors are coming through for the Wildcats (14-8).
Bradley Hubbard is one such player – the senior earned praise from Mire for the punch he’s given the team through his recent play.
“He’s a senior who’s been waiting his turn – he’s been outstanding for us the last two weeks,” Mire said. “He’s been solid defensively and offensively he’s getting big knocks for us.”
Others have made strong use of their opportunities on the pitcher’s mound.
After Northshore rallied last Thursday night to earn a 4-3 victory over Destrehan, the two teams rematched a day later. With staff ace John Carmichael having pitched in the first game, the Wildcats tuned to Jayse DeGruy in game two. He was stellar, going the complete game and allowing just one run on four hits, striking out five and walking none in a 5-1 Destrehan victory.
“After a disappointing loss, I can’t even tell you how big it was for (DeGruy) to throw the way he did on Friday night,” Mire said. “We were asking for two to three innings, get as many outs as you can. Every time we sent him back out and he kept rolling – he lasted the whole game. He kept his emotions in check, didn’t walk anyone … if he believes in himself the way we believe in him, we can answer one of our big questions moving forward.”
That question has been finding the starters who can round out the rotation on a regular basis behind Carmichael. Brycen Harding has been strong all year and was again Saturday in a complete game win over Slidell in DHS’ 13-2 victory. Harding allowed two unearned runs on seven hits and struck out two, walking none.
But another big pitching performance came in relief later that day, with Alex Schiff going six inninga and holding Slidell to just one run on four hits, striking out two and walking one – in Schiff’s varsity pitching debut, a 7-4 victory in the second game of the doubleheader Saturday with Slidell.
“He went six innings of relief and it wasn’t the plan at all – he kept throwing strikes and getting outs,” Mire said. “He was great.”
The defensive improvement across the board has lent an assist to each pitcher no doubt. Mire said shortstop Brady Mire has been particularly strong during what’s been a three-game win streak for Destrehan.
Offensively, several players starred in the 7-4 win. John Carmichael went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Jonah Haslauer was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
In the 13-2 victory from earlier in the day, Shane Lee was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Haslauer was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. DeGruy drove in two runs while Brady Mire and Jordan Donadieu each scored two runs.
DHS is set to face several strong opponents over the next week, including several district opponents. Non-district matchups with Newman and Chalmette are upcoming, while Bourgeois, Central Lafourche, Thibodaux and Terrebonne highlight the district opposition in a stretch of seven games in 10 days.
Destrehan is currently No. 20 in the Division I power points rankings, but Mire said the Wildcats can do a lot to push themselves up that chart – and perhaps into a home game for round one of the playoffs – with a strong effort over the upcoming stretch. With several of Destrehan’s opponents from earlier this year closing in on the 20-win mark, the Wildcats can get some help from elsewhere as well in bolstering that rank.