Harvey, Lady Cats examples of heart, desire

When the final bell tolled on Destrehan softball team’s season with a 4-0 loss at Dutchtown last Tuesday, the Lady Cats were still fighting, just like they had since day one.

Giving up single runs in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings made the difference, but only one error revealed just how far this very young team has come.

“We got people on a few times. Desiree (Harvey) hit a nice shot, but she was called out at third on a questionable call. We just couldn’t get them in. It was the story of our season,” head coach Jacob Thompson said.

“You have got to have a little luck on your side and things need to go your way in our district, and we just kept on falling on the short end of the stick.”

The Lady Cats finished the season with an 8-18 overall record, 2-8 in 6-5A play, but that record could have been much better. Destrehan dropped extra-inning contests to district champ Hahnville and Dutchtown while playing East Ascension to a one-run loss.

With only three senior starters and their best player – catcher turned first-year pitcher Desiree Harvey – playing out of position, the Lady Cats were a tough district foe. And the future looks bright for Destrehan, thanks to this year’s adversity.

Two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior will come back around the infield while a sophomore pitcher will replace Harvey on the mound, although replacing the Texas Tech signee will be a tough task.

“She is hands down the best female athlete that I have ever coached in my life,” Thompson said about his former All-State catcher.

“She sacrificed some individual allocates this season for her teammates to give them a chance to compete in these games. Honestly with her pitching, we were able to hang around with these teams. It gave us a chance to compete against some of the state’s best teams.”

The soon-to-be Lady Raider said choosing Texas Tech was an easy decision because both her parents are from the area, and she’ll have aunts, cousins and her grandmother to keep her company.

“I love that place, and during my visit to Texas Tech, a scholarship opened up. It worked out really well,” she said, adding she also received interest from George Mason, Texas A&M and Arkansas.

Harvey signed as a middle infielder but could have a future in centerfield, a position that showcases her great speed and strong arm, but she said she’ll always enjoy catching.

“I love catching because I was always in the game. I was in every play, every pitch, everything,” she said. “There was never a dull moment. In the outfield, it took some getting used to because you weren’t involved in every play.”

As for college, she said she’ll focus on improving her approach at the plate hitting because the mound will be pushed back from 40 feet to 43 feet.

“I can see the ball, but in college, I’ll be playing against pitchers who can move the ball a lot more. So they’ll almost never throw a fastball,” she said.

“Those three feet are a world of a difference, because the ball has a lot more time to move. It’ll have more time to do all the tricks that the pitchers want.”

And what will the Texas Tech signee and former Destrehan soccer player miss most about St. Charles Parish?

“The Destrehan/Hahnville rivalry is just amazing,” she said. “I played with probably half of the girls at Hahnville in summer ball, and I love those girls to death. But whenever those games would come up, it was just always back and forth.”

She said she’ll miss those friendly smiles during games that said, “It is all fun and games, but ‘we still want to kick your butt.'”

Even with that hint of sadness, Harvey said she is ready to compete at the next level.

“I’m excited because I’ve watched these Division I schools like Texas and Baylor play, and now I’ll be able to play against those girls who have worked just as hard as I have,” she said. “I’m looking forward to being able to compete at that level and to know that all my hard work has paid off.”

Her hard work not only paid off for her future, but for her teammates was well, Thompson said.

“The girls never did give up on themselves, and they continued to work and practice. They went out there tried to have fun and played for their school with pride and respect.”


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