Deschenes motivates team with consistent hard work


Photo courtesy of Wesley Works.

Lauren Riazzi, Sports Editor

Senior Luke Deschenes’ baseball career first got its start while playing T-ball as a young kid. Now a senior, Deschenes has diligently worked to improve his skills and through the years has competed in district and EPC championships.

Following last season where the EHS baseball team went 22-6, dominating the field in both District and EPC competitions, Deschenes is ready to exceed the expectations previously set.

He started off in the baseball program as a player on the practice team, and over the last four years has fought to earn his spot as a varsity pitcher.  

“I’ve definitely faced a lot of challenges and there have been many times where I’ve hit plateaus,” he said. “I really had to fight through them to keep improving.” 

Through the good times and the bad, Deschenes has persevered to get to where he is today, working to be the best at what he does and always giving his all. Last season, Deschenes was struggling with an arm injury and realizing that he needed to take a step back for the injury to heal properly was a difficult challenge.

“It was hard to be like, ‘Hey coach, my arm is bothering me. We might need to take a step back in practice.’ But it really made me shift my focus,” he said, “to make sure I could be ready to pitch … I had to do so much extra work during that time, just to make sure I was safe to throw when my team needed me.”

Through those hardships, Deschenes kept his head up and continued working, knowing that his struggle in that moment was worth the outcome in the future.  

“I think the biggest thing is just not getting down on yourself or giving up when you hit those plateaus,” Deschenes said. “You just have to fight through them until eventually, you figure out what’s going to help you get better.” 

Even with the difficult moments, his time on the team has certainly been filled with positive moments too, especially post-game dinners.

“We’d all go [to 1760 House] and have a dinner after a big win, and just getting to spend that time with my teammates was awesome,” Deschenes said. 

While working to improve, Deschenes has had his father with him every step of the way, to support and encourage him, while also giving him the push he needs to reach his goals.

 “He has always done as much research as possible to help provide me with tools to make me better, and he always reminds me that there’s more to work for and that I haven’t reached my goals yet and that it’s gonna take a lot of hard work,” Deschenes said. “Sometimes you need to understand that you’re not made yet. You have to keep going. There’s always room to improve.”

The outside support certainly pushed him to keep working, but once he became his own supporter, the way he viewed the game completely changed. 

“The second you fall in love with the process of getting better is when the work becomes easy,” he said. “The more you fall in love with the process, the easier the work becomes, the better you get, the more fun you have.”

Following success last season, Deschenes is aiming to win Pitcher of the Year, keeping that goal in mind as he continues to progress through the season. 

“I definitely think [winning Pitcher of the Year] as a goal is really going to help our team, because if I win Pitcher of the Year, obviously, I had to do something. It’s done something to help us succeed,” Deschenes said.  

Last year, the team ended their season in the PIAA Class 6A quarter-finals against La Salle College High School, so as the season continues, Deschenes hopes to advance further into state’s territory.  

“The biggest thing is really I just want to win a State Championship,” Deschenes said. “We got our conference in districts last year. I want to prove that we’re the best in the state.”

His improvement and hard work throughout the years have certainly paid off; not only showing through his ascent on the team but also being recognized by both his coaches and his teammates.  

 “Luke came in as a freshman and, to be very baseball-specific, he was throwing 70 miles an hour. Now he regularly can touch 90 [and] lives in the mid to high 80s, which is really a testament to just hard work,” Emmaus baseball coach Jeremy Haas said. “That doesn’t just happen for a guy. That’s putting the time in the weight room. That’s putting time in baseball. That’s being a student of the game . . .  the growth he’s had in four years is unlike anything we’ve actually ever seen.”

 Senior catcher Dom Chiego said Deschenes has a “random fire of motivation. It just runs hard and he’s come probably the furthest that I’ve ever seen for somebody. And he just works his tail off day in and day out.”

Deschenes has truly embraced the heart and soul of baseball, evidently displaying it to his coaches and teammates.

“He’s always talking about [baseball],” Chiego said. “He just loves the game. He loves everything about it. He loves being around it, whether he’s playing or not playing. He loves his teammates, he loves his coaches.”

“He’s a great leader, great role model, great person to learn from. He’s big into mechanics of the game, pitching and hitting,” Chiego said. 

Following all of the hard work Deschenes has contributed over the years, he looks forward to enjoying his last year in the Emmaus baseball program. 

“I think it’s really about enjoying my ride out. A lot of our seniors have done the work and a lot of our work now is just like, repeat practice reps to give our brains a little refresher on what we need to do,” Deschenes said. “But I think the more our team comes together and has fun as a group, typically the better you do.”

As Deschenes gets ready to leave the EHS baseball program behind and start a new journey with new goals at Seton Hill University, the leadership skills he displayed on the field will be unforgettable. 

“He’s a fierce competitor,” Haas said. “He goes out there every single day and he pushes other guys around him, and he gets on guys when they’re not giving everything they have because he’s a guy that gives everything he’s ever had.”