Seniors are Gaels’ anchors

Josie Heesch and Allie Oberg have been constants in the St. Edmond softball lineup over the past five years.

Now the two seniors embark on the final week of their high school careers at the biggest stage possible – the state tournament.

The sixth-ranked (Class 2A) Gaels face Ridge View here Monday in a quarterfinal contest at Rogers Park.

In 2010, as freshmen, Heesch and Oberg were part of the consolation championship St. Edmond team. Two other seniors – Katy Bocken and Cassie Sells – were also part of that roster and will suit up a final time this week.

Heesch, who will play for Iowa Central next year, has 28 career home runs and 131 hits for the green and white. She has driven in 88 runs and scored 113 times, with several highlight-worthy catches in left field defensively.

“(Allie and I) have been playing on the same team since we were 10 years old,” Heesch said. “We started together on Pride and stayed with it through the years.

“If you are going to put in all those extra workouts and practices – why wouldn’t you stick it out?”

Oberg, a career .495 hitter with 117 RBI and eight homers, echoed Heesch’s sentiments.

“State is definitely that extra reward for the years and years of hard work,” she said. “It just makes it all the more satisfying.”

The two sluggers are workout partners, and Heesch continually drove the state-or-bust motto into Oberg.

“Josie would yell each time she was spotting me, “STATE, STATE, you have to do it for state,'” Oberg said.

St. Edmond head coach Paul Hunt has witnessed the growth from both players first-hand, and feels that the trust each player has in the other has helped lead the program back to state.

“The girls are always spending time together – that helps them both on and off the field,” Hunt said. “I think that’s a huge advantage that summer sports have: you get to spend the whole time together as a family.”

Togetherness is something that both Heesch and Oberg feel has developed over time with the members of the team.

“We are just a huge family,” Heesch said. “When we play softball, we don’t just play softball; we learn how to be good people and make friendships that will last forever.”