Nashville's Shaye Harre is 1A-2A softball player of the year for third time

News-DemocratJune 24, 2013 

— The trophy case at Nashville High School will always bear witness to Shaye Harre's impact on the girls athletic program.

Harre was a three-sport star for the Hornettes and a member of five teams that captured state trophies -- two firsts, two thirds and a fourth -- in either basketball or softball.

"She is going to leave as one of more decorated athletes in the history of the school," Nashville softball coach Dempsey Witte said.

As a senior, Harre was a member of the Hornettes' Class 2A state championship basketball team and a member of a volleyball team that posted a 23-13 record and captured a regional championship.

Softball is the sport where Harre excelled the most. She led the Hornettes to the Class 2A state championship in 2012 and a third-place finish this past season as they fell to eventual champion Bishop McNamara 3-2 in the semifinal round.

"It would have been nice to walk out with three state titles, but I can't complain about the career that I had in high school," Harre said. "Walking out of there with five medals around my neck, there is nothing to be ashamed about."

Harre has been chosen as the Belleville News-Democrat's Class 1A-2A Softball Player of the Year. It's her third straight year winning the award, but the first time she didn't share the honor.

"She did a lot for the program," Witte said. "Her numbers kind of speak for themselves. She has a lot of records not only here at Nashville, but also some IHSA records. She was a very complete player -- offensively, defensively and pitching -- and she was a great leader for us. I'm not sure we've ever had as complete a player as Shaye. She was a pretty special player."

Hitting is the area where Harre really stood out.

Harre hit .546 for her career. She had 87 doubles, eight triples, 31 home runs and 231 RBIs.

Harre's double total and RBI total rank No. 1 on the all-time state charts, according to the Illinois High School Association's online record book.

The old record for doubles was 73 by Kankakee's Allie VadeBoncouer from 2009-10 and the old record for RBIs was 229 by Massac County's Terri Harbin from 1984-87.

Harre's reputation as a hitter was so great that many teams, especially in the River-to-River Conference, regularly walked her this season. She ended up with a state-record 51 walks.

"Early in the year, she got some more pitches to hit," Witte said. "I know her first three at-bats, she hit three home runs. She got off to a great start, and as the season progressed, she got less and less opportunities to swing the bat, especially when we got into conference. When we got into conference, she rarely got to swing."

Harre still ended up batting .598 with 61 runs scored, 21 doubles, 14 homers and 64 RBIs.

"It was a little tough not getting to swing the bat like I did last year," Harre said.

Harre is headed to SIU Carbondale, where coach Kerri Blaylock is looking for her to play first base and pitch.

"When she first recruited me, she called me a power-hitting first baseman that can pitch," Harre said. "I think she's more and more talking herself into having me pitch more."

Harre didn't get to pitch a lot this season because the Hornettes had sophomore Maci Ingram, who as a freshman pitched them to the Class 2A state championship.

Harre, who had a 10-1 record with a 2.18 ERA, said she continued to work on her pitching even though she knew her innings would be limited this season.

"I knew I wasn't going to be pitching much, but I knew Coach Blaylock was going to want me to pitch," Harre said. "I knew that I needed to keep working at it."

Harre's career record on the mound was 51-15. She had 2.51 ERA with 335 strikeouts in 415 1/3 innings.

Harre, the daughter of Shelly and Steve Harre, plans to major in pre-veterinary medicine in college with the goal of becoming a veterinarian or an animal nutritionist. She lives on a dairy and grain farm, and she raises show cattle, a hobby that takes a lot of strength considering the size of the animals you're leading around.

"It takes a lot of patience sometimes, too," Harre said. "They weigh about 1,200 pounds. Sometimes a little more and sometimes a little less."

Harre's strength was evident is some of the monster home runs she hit.

Witte still remembers a blast that Harre hit off Sparta pitcher Alexis Kohrs, who later transferred to Du Quoin, as a sophomore in a regional game.

"It was just a towering home run," Witte said. "She had some height on it. We'd do some (batting practice) on the field and the number of balls she'd hit out during practice was just unbelievable. You got to the point where you'd expect her to hit one out of every two or three out of the park."

The Hornettes' hopes of repeating as state champions were dashed with the loss to Bishop McNamara, which scored all three of its runs on two homers in the first inning.

The first three innings where played in the rain on a side field, and the game was eventually delayed for 2 1/2 hours before being finished in the main field.

"It was definitely about who had the most guts to fight it out with finishing on two fields over six hours," said Harre, whose team had a seventh-inning rally fall just short. "It was just crazy. The momentum keep going toward us. We kept hitting the ball. Finally, in that seventh inning, we decided to make it a nice ballgame."

The Hornettes will lose only two seniors -- Harre and center fielder Nicole Deering -- to graduation.

"Everybody is looking forward to next season already," Witte said. "They're saying, 'You're only losing Shaye and Nicole (Deering),' but that's a big two. Nicole was overlooked a lot because she was with Shaye. I think those two kind of turned the program around and inspired a young group of girls to get back into softball."

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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