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The foundation of the new softball program at Catawba Valley Community College will count a former Warlassies among its building blocks.

Owen High School senior Destiny Karber will continue her softball career for the Red Hawks, in Hickory, after a May 21 signing ceremony.

Karber was joined in the Owen gym by Red Hawks head coach Josh Bumgarner, Warlassies coach Angela Louis, teammates, family members and school staff to mark the occasion.

A four-year varsity player, Karber was an outfielder for the Warlassies, who finished the 2019 season 4-13. Playing college softball has been a goal since childhood, she said.

“I started playing softball when I was in third grade,” Karber said. “I played baseball before that because I watched my dad play and I wanted to be like him. I’ve always loved it.”

Following the signing, Karber thanked those in attendance.

“I’m glad you guys are all here so I can do this with you.” she told dozens of people gathered in the gym. “You guys have really pushed me and I couldn’t have done this without you.”

Karber credited her Owen coach with pushing her to improve on and off the field.

“She’s so supportive,” she said of Louis. “She pushed me to be a better player, person and to work hard academically.”

Louis congratulated Karber on the beginning of “a wonderful journey.”

“You’ve worked really hard for this,” the coach said. “We’re proud of you and we’re all happy you’ll be playing close by so we can come see you play.”

Catawba Valley announced it would add a softball program in February and hired Bumgarner to lead it in March. He reached out to Western North Carolina high school programs to inquire about players who would be a good fit for the young Red Hawks.

Louis was among the coaches to reply.

“She told me she had a player who she thought I should come take a look at,” Bumgarner said. “I came out here to watch Destiny play.”

He was impressed by Karber’s maturity and leadership.

“She’s an intelligent player,” Bumgarner said. “She handles adversity well on the field. At one point in the game the misplayed a ball and she didn’t let it get her down. She kept her head in the game and didn’t let it shake her.”

The ability to remain poised when faced with difficult situations is valuable for a player in a new program, the coach said.

“We really want to develop a strong culture,” Bumgarner said. “Destiny is the kind of player who can help set that tone.”

Karber is looking forward to continuing her softball career at Catawba Valley.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to keep playing.”

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