From Homecoming Queen to Softball Royalty: Addison Harvey Breaks 30-Year Stolen Bases Record

by William Weathers // Contributor

Senior Addison Harvey’s already had the pedigree for royalty. Last fall, she reigned supreme as queen over University High’s football homecoming.

Six months later she became queen on a national scale when Harvey broke a 30-year-old record for consecutive stolen bases without being thrown out.

Harvey snapped the existing mark of consecutive steals of 159 established by Annesa Conrad of Carlise, Iowa, reaching that milestone March 7 during a 22-7 victory at Tara. She’s subsequently driven that mark higher with an additional eight stolen bases for 167 with four regular season games remaining, coupled with the state playoffs.

“This whole thing was a surprise to me. I didn’t find out until three days after the game,” said Harvey, a career .550 hitter with 17 doubles, six triples and 13 homers. “I had no idea I was even close to a national record. Every team I’ve played, the coaches are like, ‘you’re that fast girl. You’re always stealing on us’. I love competing.

“I was truly shocked when it happened,” Harvey said. “It didn’t feel real to me in the moment. Everyone’s been really supportive, and they’re happy for me. A lot of people that I hadn’t talked to in a long time congratulated me. It’s pretty cool. I never experienced anything like this.”

Harvey’s record is the accumulation of a knack for stealing bases that began in the seventh grade. She took small steps toward the mark with 10 and 8 steals, respectively, her first two seasons after finally giving into the urging of then assistant coach Adam Barrett to join the team.

With a background rooted in gymnastics – she was a Level-9 gymnast – Harvey caught Barrett’s eye one day consistently outracing a group of male students, and the University High science teacher took notice.

“She beat every boy in every race,” Barrett said. “I knew I needed to ask her to play softball. She said she had to ask her mom and within the next year she came out, and we asked her to be on varsity after one game of middle school ball. We were like, ‘oh my God’.”

Harvey currently ranks second nationally with 37 of 37 stolen bases, giving her another target to shoot for by the end of the season. She’s an accomplished offensive player, batting .646 with 22 RBIs, four doubles, one triple and three homers – all inside-the-park homers.

She’s also the anchor of the Cubs’ infield at shortstop who also plays center field and covers enough ground to allow the left and right fielders to play closer to foul lines.

When not busy playing or practicing softball, Harvey’s participated with the school’s track team for a second year and was the state indoor runner-up in both the 60-meter dash (7.79 seconds) and long jump (17-5 ¾). She’s part of four events this outdoor season, running both sprint races (100 and 100), and taking part in the long and triple jumps.

“It’s been very fun,” Harvey said. “It’s such a different environment than gymnastics. Gymnastics is more of an individual sport. In softball it’s not just about one person, it’s about bringing the team together and winning games together. That’s what I loved about softball. All the young girls are looking up to me and it’s so cool that I can help these young girls become better players and teach and guide them through the sport. It’s the same way I was taught and guided when I was in the seventh grade.”

Barrett said the wheels were put in motion for Harvey’s special achievement when he returned to U-High’s coaching staff after stepping away for the 2023 season. He was informed over the summer Harvey was a perfect 130 of 130 in stolen bases but chose not to disclose the information with Harvey for fear of creating additional pressure going into her senior year.

Barrett shared the prospect of the national mark with Harvey’s parents and other members of the school’s coaching staff and athletic department. The only goal he provided to Harvey was to strive for the state’s career stolen base record.

“The whole time I was trying to push her to break this national record without telling her,” Barrett said. “I didn’t want her to change her game, become too conservative and get thrown out, or be too aggressive and make some sort of mistake. I didn’t want it to get into her head.”

Within two months of joining the team Harvey, a natural right-handed batter, converted to becoming a left-handed batter to take advantage of her blazing speed out of the batter’s box. By the time she was a freshman, she hit a career-high .704 with 38 hits, 15 RBIs and 37 of 37 in stolen bases.

It began an impressive stretch for Harvey who became a three-time selection to the All-District 6-3A first team, All-Metro and either the Class 3A or Division III All-State teams.

“I was taught from the very beginning that my purpose was to learn how to run the bases,” Harvey said. “I focused on that my seventh and eighth grade year and didn’t steal that much those years. That was my learning process and then travel ball helped and it eventually became a natural instinct.”

Harvey expanded her softball horizons, though, becoming part of the Blazers Elite travel ball program which exposed to her next-level competition, helping to improve her overall skills.

She also met her match two or three summers ago, she estimated, getting thrown out trying to steal second.

“It was like a ‘dang’ moment,” she said. “It was a learning experience.”

Harvey has not been thrown out since. She was 39 of 39 in 2022, batting .671 with 27 RBIs, five doubles, four triples and four homers, and followed that with a .531 average, six homers and 14 RBIs and was 36 of 36 in stolen bases last season.

“She power slaps and is adding swinging away to her game plan if people start creeping,” Barrett said. “That’s what I love, she’s so smart. She pretty much places it where she wants.”

Harvey, who twice stole on LSU commitment Kylie Savant of Doyle last week, has already realized the end is near. Instead of pursing softball at the collegiate level, she’s opted to attend LSU and major in marketing and business.

“I wanted to keep playing the sport but realized after high school I just want to be me and go to school,” she said.

Harvey’s pursuit, with each passing game and the closer she got to the record, was met with plenty of rooting interest. Her teammates, classmates and school administration, who first took notice of her ability six years ago, were galvanized by her efforts and celebrated her accomplishment.

“That goes to her personality and how she leads on the team,” Barrett said. “She’s a competitor that wants to win. She wants to make everyone around her better. It’s really rubbed off on the younger kids and they really look up to her. Everybody truly wants her to do well all the time.”