ASHLAND, Ore. — The two-time defending national champion Southern Oregon University softball team didn't have to go far to land their first recruit from the Class of 2022. On Monday, Gabby Heiken, a senior at Ashland High School, signed her letter of intent to join the Raiders squad.
"It's been a long time coming, so it's nice to finally say I'm going to SOU," Heiken said after putting pen to paper, making her commitment to play softball at Southern Oregon official.
Heiken is a three-sport student-athlete at Ashland, lettering in softball, volleyball and basketball. She's been a starter for the Grizzlies softball team since freshman year, earning second-team All-Conference accolades as an infielder that season.
COVID and a torn ACL forced her to miss her sophomore season. But despite having not played a game since her freshman year, Heiken didn't miss a beat in her junior campaign. Her performance on the diamond earned her first-team All-Conference and All-State honors as an infielder.
"I've been around college athletics since I was two and so it's always been a dream of mine," Heiken said. "But especially since being around the softball program at SOU has really made me very excited for this."
Her father, Bobby, is the Associate Athletic Director at SOU, and has been bringing Gabby to softball games since she can remember. The familiarity with the program plus her desire to compete for a national championship led her to choose SOU. Raiders softball head coach Jessica Pistole is glad to have Gabby join the team.
"She embodies everything it means to be a Raider, on and off the field," the two-time national champion coach said after Heiken signed to play at SOU.
Heiken will finish her senior year at Ashland before joining the Raiders softball team in 2022.