Another NCHS athlete has signed to continue athletics at the college level. NCHS senior Sophie Heck will continue her softball career at Wabash Valley College after graduation. Heck was the primary center fielder for the Hornettes last season, and will enter this season as one of the big bats in the Nashville lineup.
Heck said of her decision to choose Wabash, “I chose Wabash because they have a top-notch junior college softball program. They field competitive teams year-in and year-out and do a great job moving kids on to the next level.”
Heck joins a plethora of NCHS softball players that have moved on to play at the next level in recent years.
Wabash Valley College is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The Warriors play in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. Other member of the conference are: John A. Logan, Kaskaskia College, Lake Land College, Lincoln Trail College, Olney Central College, Rend Lake College, Shawnee College, Southeastern Illinois College, and Southwestern Illinois College.
Heck missed the final game of the season last year due to injury, but still led the Hornettes with 21 doubles, and 26 extra base hits. Heck was second on the team with four triples. Heck hit .382 last season and drove in 30 runs. Last season Heck was named First-Team All-SIRR Conference Mississippi Division as well as All-South.
Heck said she has planned on playing softball in college for a long time now. “I’ve been playing travel softball since I was 9 and getting a scholarship was my goal from that point on. Softball is a pretty big deal to my family, so it was awesome to share this with them.”
Wabash is getting not only a good softball player, but a great all around person in Sophie. She does well in the classroom and is just a tremendous person. She can play any of the OF positions but can also catch if needed,” said NCHS Softball Coach Shaun Renth when asked about Heck.
Renth went on to talk about the adjustments Heck will have to make at next level. “As far as what Sophie needs to work on for college would be the mental aspect of playing college softball. The schedule in college is so different than what it is in high school. They may have class on only a few days a week and not for the whole day and that can be a big adjustment for some kids. Also playing DHs every day you play with games starting at 1 or 2 in the afternoon can take some getting used to, but I’m confident Sophie will be able to handle all aspects of college ball.”
Heck has been a part of a great stretch of Hornette softball. Heck picked out a couple memories that have really stuck in her mind. “Beating Pinckneyville at Pinckneyville my freshman year for a regional title and beating Carterville at Carterville my sophomore year were both really big team wins and fun games to be a part of.”
As for what she will miss, Heck said “I think more than anything I’m gonna miss my team- mates. I’ve been playing with some of these girls for a long time, and it’s gonna be weird moving on and playing without them there. I’ve been playing here for 4 years and every day I play catch with the same person. You just develop a bond with your team after you’ve been together for so long and it’s going to be weird not having that right away next year.”
Heck also gave praise to the NCHS coaches she has worked with. ”Our coaching staff is awesome. It’s a little different for me, because my dad is also my coach. He’s taught me almost everything I know about the game. Our coaches really teach us the importance of team work and they’ve done a great job getting us ready for the next level.”
Heck plans to study Accounting while at Wabash Valley College.