By Rick Morwick
Statistically, Abby Herbst has few – if any – peers in Indiana high school softball. But production alone doesn’t paint the entire picture of her value to seventh-ranked Class 4A Center Grove.
Her competitive nature is a major asset. So is her work ethic and commitment to the sport.
So is her leadership, on and off the field.
“Her consistency and approach to the game is superb. Her ability to consistently compete, no matter the (opponent), allows her to stand out, no matter the outcome,” said Alyssa Coleman, the Trojans’ first-year coach. “As a coach, it is extremely helpful to not have to worry about what you are going to get from her, because you know with her in the lineup, the team is going to be able to compete.
“The stats prove that she is simply a winner and is going to put our program in the best scenario we want to be in, on and off the field.”
Intangibles notwithstanding, Herbst’s stats are impressive, if not eye-popping.
A four-year starting pitcher/first baseman, the versatile senior is the Trojans’ leader in virtually every hitting, pitching and fielding category. At the plate, she hits .611 with 29 RBIs, eight doubles and a .814 slugging percentage. She leads the team in all four areas.
On the mound, she has a 9-3 record with a 0.84 ERA and 101 strikeouts. She leads the team in those areas.
And in the field, she’s committed zero errors, 50 fielding chances.
It’s little wonder Herbst is a frontrunner for the Indiana Miss Softball award and, more importantly, is why the Trojans are among frontrunners for the state championship.
“I feel like our team is really good, but we still have a lot that we can improve upon,” said Herbst, who also is a frontrunner for Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year. “I definitely believe our team can make a good run in the state tournament, and as long as we work together, nobody can stop us.”
Especially when Herbst is pitching. Or anywhere in the lineup, for that matter.
“Plain and simple, her ability to compete (is her main strength),” Coleman said. “On the mound, she is a fierce competitor who pushes her teammates, her opponents and even umpires at times.
“I have watched many try, and fail, to keep up with her. Her softball IQ is remarkable, and I believe she demonstrates that the most in her control on the mound and her ability to be comfortable at the plate, no matter the count.
“She is a humble young lady who carries herself with confidence on and off the field. With stunning academics, extreme work ethic and a kind heart, she is the full package.”
An honors student who will continue her athletic career the University of Wisconsin, Herbst has played competitive softball most of her young life. For her, the game is pure joy, for a multitude of reasons.
“For starters, I love the competition of knowing I’m playing (against) some of the best players out there,” she said. “I also love being able to spend all that time with my friends and sharing the enjoyment we have for the game together. Lastly, I love that the game allows for an escape, a place to go when I need to forget about everything else that’s going on and just have fun.”
THE HERBST FILE
NAME: Abby Herbst
POSITIONS: Pitcher/first base
EXPERIENCE: Four-year starter
HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Shopping, watching TV and spending time with friends
FAVORITE MOVIE: 42
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Vampire Diaries
COLLEGE PLANS: Will continue a softball career on scholarship at the University of Wisconsin; plans to study business management and human resources
PARENTS: Bob and Susan Herbst