RMU recruit backs up her bat with defense
Kristen Gabelt's stats are impressive enough. But, according to her coach, it's what you can't see on paper that makes her an NCAA Division I softball player.
Gabelt, a senior at Ligonier Valley, signed a national letter of intent last week to play at Robert Morris, where she'll join a Colonials program that won the Northeast Conference regular-season title last year.
It's a well-deserved opportunity for Gabelt, according to Ligonier Valley coach Mark Zimmerman, though it's not just because Gabelt had a .648 batting average, 14 home runs and 51 RBI as a junior.
"The offensive numbers everybody looks at and says, 'Oh, that's great,' and all that stuff," Zimmerman said. "But the more you look at a player, especially if you're looking at the Division I level, you have to look and say, 'Can this girl play defense?' The offense is fine and all that jazz, but you can only hit so many times.
"The defensive end -- sometimes it doesn't get mentioned," Zimmerman added. "She's played a bunch of positions for us: first base, third base, center field. She's always been somewhere where she's going to get a lot of action. And I think that speaks as much volume as however many home runs you hit."
With that reliable defense and team highs in all three aforementioned offensive categories, Gabelt helped lead Ligonier Valley to a 20-2 record last season and a run to the District 6 semifinals.
She then made a verbal commitment to Robert Morris in July after considering Albany, Marist and Indiana (Pa.) and signed with the Colonials last Wednesday.
"Basically, it was almost like the perfect fit," Gabelt said. "It had everything that I wanted. The distance was two hours away. I didn't want to go real, real far away from home. The campus was beautiful. I met the coaches, they were awesome. I met the team, and they were awesome, too. So, it was like everything clicked."
Gabelt said the Robert Morris coaches haven't told her what position she'll play in college, but she said she can play any position but pitcher and catcher - something her coach has picked up on.
"We've played her wherever we needed a defensive girl," Zimmerman said. "That alone speaks volumes not only for her diversity, but also for her team willingness. She says, 'Wherever I've got to go, coach, I go.' She's played a lot of places for us."
"As for the offense, she's still going to hit," Zimmerman said. "The girl's just a pure hitter. If the pitcher's not on top of her game, she's going to make her pay big time."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.