For Gracie Gabel, junior, family’s the name of the game.
“My family’s a really big baseball family,” Gabel said. “It’s always been pushed for us. Because they wanted me to do it, I did it, but then I found a love for it because of the teamwork and the friends I made through it.”
Following in the footsteps of her two older siblings, Gabel found her footing on the softball field at an early age.
“When I was in kindergarten, I was playing for a coach pitch team so the coaches would pitch for us,” Gabel said. “I just remember always loving it.”
Gabel currently plays third base. Prior to last year, she played shortstop and outfield after the spot became vacant midseason.
“It actually ended up working out a lot because now I play third for high school and club all the time,” Gabel said.
After Gabel’s first year on varsity serving as a transitional period for both her own position and changes in coaching staff, the team is focusing their attention on the newcomers.
“We have Piper [Ruthrauff] who’s also a freshman [catcher], and then outfielder Vivienne [McGraw] who’s also a freshman,” Gabel said. “I think that those assets will really help us grow as a team. The coaching is the biggest thing because I felt the first half of last year we never actually wanted it because we hated it so much because of the coaching. Now we can really find the love we had for it and the competitiveness.”
For game days, Gabel follows a routine before hitting the field.
“I always have to have my clothes put on a certain way,” Gabel said. “So my socks go on first sliding shorts, and then my shirt and then my pants. I also have to listen to music. I really like 21 Savage.”
In her time playing third, Gabel hopes to continue to work on her mental game.
“I feel like I get in my head sometimes and in practice I just need to stop thinking,” Gabel said. “Just find strategies of not thinking and be able to hold my team up in hitting like being able to have everyone’s back like if someone gets a hit I should be able to move them on the bases.”
Gabel is looking forward to playing Tualatin and Oregon City this season.
“[Oregon City] is the biggest one because they have a pitcher going D1 and I think we just need to keep the competitiveness with them,” Gabel said. “We beat them once last year, but then lost to them in the playoffs by one. I think they’re the best in state from where I see it. I think that if we beat them, we can beat anyone.”
Looking ahead, Gabel hopes to continue her athletic career into college, following in the steps of former teammates like Cydney Hess, who now plays third base for Linfield University in McMinnville, Oregon.
“I am talking to Bushnell University, but I’m just not sure if I want to stay in Oregon yet,” Gabel said. “I’m talking to a few other schools right now. I really want to try for Colorado School of Mines but I haven’t gotten to a tournament where they’ve been at yet. I’m just wanting a general D2 level school.”