CARBONDALE — It’s safe to say SIU’s Shaye Harre was less than stressed out by her pursuit of the all-time RBI record.
The senior first baseman hashed a three-run homer at Indiana State last year, giving her 149 career RBI. Nearly everyone, but Harre, was aware of the historic nature of the home run.
“I knew it was close,” she said. “I didn’t know exactly where it was. I didn’t really have too much of a reaction, I was like, 'That was pretty cool.’ It didn’t really affect me in any way. I was just trying to go out there and do anything I can for the team.”
Ironically, it was Harre’s reputation and her ability as a hitter that kept her from achieving the record earlier this season. Many teams have refused to pitch to her. Going into this weekend’s series with Missouri State, Harre has drawn 49 walks – giving her an astronomical on-base percentage of .521.
She admitted being walked was a source of irritation.
“I wouldn’t really say frustration, but at the same time I’d rather hit than walk,” Harre said.”I’d rather earn getting on base rather than having them give it to me.”
“I remember once early season and once kind of at the beginning of the conference season her not being able to help us because of being walked,” said SIU coach Kerri Blaylock. “We told her to relax, it’s going to happen.”
It has happened for Harre since she stepped onto the SIU campus.
Harre had a storied career at Nashville High School, leading the Hornettes to first and third place finishes at state.
“She was a no-doubter to me,” Blaylock said. “It was just no doubt. I never wavered as to whether to recruit her. I’ll never forget going to see her play against Du Quoin in a regional. She hit a ball in the treetops. I thought I don’t care what kind of pitching, her strength and the way she could hit the ball, to me there was just no doubt she was going to be good.”
Despite the gaudy numbers at the prep level, Harre initially harbored some doubts at playing collegiately.
“There are always doubts when you are a little freshmen stepping on campus,” she said. “You have to step up and play like you played your whole life.
“For me, freshman year it came easy because I had Jana Spivey to lean on. She was just there for me my freshman year.”
In something of an ironic twist, it was Spivey’s RBI record that Harre shattered, something Spivey predicted.
“I don’t think I really noticed she ever really said that,” Harre said.
Blaylock’s instincts were correct. Harre showed immediately she had was it takes to play Division 1 softball. But, her impact on the softball team goes beyond RBIs and tape-measure home runs.
“I don’t know if you can measure it,” Blaylock said. “She has helped teach our culture to the younger kids. She’s been a captain. She’s been in the middle of our lineup since the day she’s walked in here. That’s a lot of pressure, and she’s done it. SIU softball is better for her being a part of it. I think that’s the ultimate compliment.”
Harre was named a team captain her junior year. It was a responsibility she took seriously.
“I feel it’s mostly in my experience my junior year, not only to be playing for yourself and your team, but I was a captain as well,” she said. “I had to make sure I was bringing everyone else with me. It’s (leadership) something you have to learn, but it’s also something you have to have in your personality.”
And, although Harre knows her storied career will end in the next few weeks, it’s not something she’s allowed herself to think about.
“We still have games to play,” she said. “That’s basically where I am right now.”