Even before beginning her high school academic career, Maggie Harvey will have a state softball experience under her belt.
Harvey and sixth-ranked (Class 2A) St. Edmond will take on Ridge View Monday night in a quarterfinal at Rogers Park.
The eighth-grader came into her own as the season rolled along, leading the Gaels (26-8 overall) with four home runs. She batted .495 with 20 RBI, 15 steals, nine doubles and four triples.
Oh, and she played one of the more difficult positions on the diamond - catcher.
Despite all the accolades that came with her pre-high school success, Harvey wasn't exactly confident she would suit up at the varsity level this summer.
"I didn't think I would be playing at all this year," Harvey admitted. "I worked really hard. Everything kind of came back to me like when I was starting (AAU with) Pride when I was nine.
"I got here and am actually really proud of myself because in the winter, I had no real hope (of playing varsity)."
Harvey, who comes from an athletic family, gave plenty of credit to SEHS head coach Paul Hunt for her rapid development.
"Coach Hunt pushed, and pushed, and pushed me," she said. "When I came in (during the winter), you would have thought I never played softball before my whole entire life.
"But around late-January, it started clicking that I could do this. I always thought if I am going to do this, I have to work harder than I did the last practice."
Harvey also had a veteran looking down the pipe at her in senior pitcher Katie Donnelly. The backstop stated that "Katie builds me."
"She is my calming influence. When I get down or upset, she is there to motivate me because I can't let her down."