Published 12:00 am Friday, July 11, 2008


Sports Editor

After the performance of a lifetime, what can the St. Charles Lady Comets’ softball team do for an encore?

Even as half the team’s starters depart, the summer indicates that the Comets may be reloading rather than rebuilding.

In the wake of their dramatic victory in April’s Class 3A championship game, the St. Charles kept its momentum going through June, finishing a summer league schedule with a record of 18-4.

The high win total did little to ground the players from the emotional high of the past season.

“Everyone’s had a little extra bounce in their step,” said SCC Coach Ty Monica.

No wonder – the Comets just completed perhaps the greatest season in the softball program’s history. The team reached 30 wins for the first time ever against a loaded schedule; took home its first district title in years by sweeping the field, including two wins over rival Lutcher; and capped off a magical playoff run with Jessie Braud’s game winning score in the bottom of the seventh inning.

It took a veteran team to accomplish these things, and that sometimes comes at a price. Five senior starters have departed. Shortstop Katie Reine, designated hitter Brooke Becker, third baseman Courtney Millet and pitcher Courtney Western are returning starters. Monica used the summer to search for replacements.

“We played more games than we ever have in the summer,” said Monica. “We needed to do that with such a young team.”

Western’s game winning hit and victory on the mound in the title game made her a playoff hero, but she worked a light schedule this summer while battling shoulder soreness.

Ditto for pitcher Megan Louque, who had to step aside after some early work due to her own injury issues.

So Monica called on Jennifer Heltz to fill the void on the mound, and in doing so may have found another reliable option for the coming season.

“She stepped it up big time for us,” Monica said.

Monica says that Reine and Becker led the way offensively this summer for a team that’s undergoing a transformation of sorts in that department.

“This team is going to have a much different chemical makeup,” said Monica. “We’ll have to lay some small ball and manufacture runs. We won’t be playing station to station baseball.”

The summer schedule included games against Ascension Catholic, Hahnville, Chalmette, and East Ascension among others, as well as tournament play.      

While a championship generally puts a target on one’s back, so far it’s had a positive effect on the Comets’ play, says their third year coach.

“Even if we weren’t better than the team we faced, the girls believed we were,” Monica said. “They fought their rear ends off.”

Between the regular season and the summer, St. Charles has won 48 of its last 58 games.

Some undoubtedly need a break after almost 60 games, win, lose or draw.

Some, do not.

“We’re almost to that point where we’re ready to get back into it,” said Monica. “We’ve got that championship taste in our mouths. And I know I’d love to know what a second one feels like.”