For The Tribune
When Morgan Gabbard completes her softball season this spring, she will have earned 11 varsity letters at Trinity Lutheran High School.
She said she takes a lot of pride in her accomplishments, which include winning most improved and most valuable awards in golf, and helping the softball team win a sectional title while earning all-county honors.
“I think I’m going to remember the impact that my coaches and my teammates have had on me because playing three different sports I was with several different kinds of people all the time,” she said. “I had really good teammates through every sport I played here, and my coaches taught me a lot of life lessons that I can take to college and on in life.”
She is looking forward to helping the Cougars post another winning record in softball. Gabbard said she began playing softball at age 10 in Scottsburg.
“I started pitching when I started playing,” Gabbard said. “I started when it was ‘kid pitch,’ so I immediately stepped into the pitching role. I stated taking pitching lessons when I was about 12, and I’ve been taking them since then.
Gabbard said she tries to use the same delivery for all her pitches and use a different grip to throw a different pitch.
“Being on the mound, you’re in control of the pace of play and everything, and you’re involved in every play,” she said. “That’s what I like about it. It is very important (to get ahead in the count) because you want to tell the batter that you mean business. You want to keep ahead in the count.”
The senior knows most batters are looking for a fastball on the first pitch.
“I might start off with a fastball inside or outside,” she said. “Once they think I’m going to throw a fastball again I might come back with a change-up or something different.”
When she is not pitching for the Cougars this spring she figures she will either play left field or first base.
“I haven’t played (first base) in a while, but I did a little bit when I was younger,” Gabbard said. “You really have to be on your toes when you’re at first base because they could throw it in the dirt, throw it over your head. You have to be really aware.”
Gabbard said when she is batting she wants to avoid getting behind in the count.
“I expect the pitcher to throw a good first-pitch strike,” she said. “The pitch I look for all the time is waist-high, maybe an inside pitch, because I can really pull the ball.”
Gabbard said that practices are important, and the coaches at Trinity have helped her grow.
“Softball has definitely grown on me through the years, and I’ve been blessed to have a really good coach in Chad Goecker, and having really good teammates,” she said. “Practice is really important, and as the saying goes, ‘You play how your practice.’ You have to practice with the mindset that everything is live, so that when we’re doing hitting drills, or when we’re fielding grounders, we have to finish the play out as if it’s live and there are runners and everything.”
For Gabbard, her highlights in softball are winning the sectional and throwing a no-hitter the first game of her freshman year, against Crothersville.
Gabbard said she enjoyed the home matches at Shadowood and preferred playing the front nine.
“I really enjoyed playing at Shadowood. They were really good with scheduling and practice, and allowing us to practice on the course all the time,” Gabbard said. “It’s a really nice course to get to play.”
She said her low score at Shadowood was a 58.
Gabbard has enjoyed being a student at Trinity Lutheran.
“I decided to come to Trinity because they have really great academics and I wanted that rigorous academic schedule to help me get ready for college, and it’s Christ-centered, so I really love how spiritual it is, and getting to have a Christ-centered education,” she said.
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Name: Morgan Gabbard
School: Trinity Lutheran
Parents: Tony and Donna Gabbard
Siblings: Devon, Josh
Sports: Golf, four years; softball, four years; basketball, three years
Athletics honors: Golf — 2017 MVP, senior award, 2015 most improved; softball — 2016 coaches award, all-county, 2015 sectional champions
Organizations: National Honor Society, student government, dance committee, student ambassadors, events teams, handbells, band, culture club
Plans after high school: Attend University of Southern Indiana, study diagnostic medical sonography
Favorite food: Pepperoni pizza
Favorite TV show: “Timeless”
Favorite musician: Taylor Swift
Favorite movie: “Bring It On”
Favorite team, athlete: Candace Parker, Tennessee Volunteers