Gabby York knew she wanted to keep playing softball once she graduated high school. The question wasn't if she would play, but where. York made the decision Thursday afternoon as she signed her letter of intent to play and study at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri.
"They had the best offer for me," York said.
That offer includes an academic scholarship as well as the A+ scholarship.
"I am doing the A+ program with them," York said. "It involves tutoring hours and you get half tuition off."
Central Methodist wasn't the only school to show an interest in York. She had interest from local colleges Hannibal-LaGrange University, Quincy University, and John Wood Community College to schools farther away at Culver-Stockton College in Canton and St. Charles Community College.
"I also looked at SLU (Saint Louis University)," York said. "But they have their team already. I wanted a place for me and they didn't have that right now."
York is more than capable of handling herself with the bat. She led the Lady Pirates with a .471 batting average this past season and was second on the team in stolen bases with 18. York also pounded out a team-high 5 triples while scoring 14 runs.
"I have been running the program for three years and Gabby has been a leader for all three years," Hannibal coach Brock Sousa said. "She has been a three-year starter for me and for the program she has been a four-year starter. In the three years with me, she has led in almost all offensive stats."
With the ability to man two of the tougher positions on the field, shortstop and catcher, York is just as good in the field. During the 2012 season, York made just five errors all season and finished with a .872 fielding percentage. York's fielding percentage was second on the team among all players that had 10 or more chances during the season.
"She has played both shortstop and catcher for us," Sousa said. "She took the starting spot last year for catcher and solidified that spot. Anyone that knows softball or baseball, knows that the catcher is the leader and the captain of the team. Everybody is watching her and watching you when you are catching. They are going off (the catcher's) energy. She never stopped and never quit. She kind of led the with actions instead of words."
York won't be spending all her time on the diamond though. She will also spend a lot of time hitting the books with her chosen major. While at Central Methodist, York intends to study nursing.
"Their nursing program seems really good," York said. "I actually want to be a delivery nurse. I honestly don't know what made me want to do that. I just love kids and nursing is something that brings in the money."
York said the drive is about three hours (one way). Regardless of where she chose to go to school, York planned on staying away for most of the time.
"I didn't plan on coming home even if it was HLGU," York said. "I plan on getting a little homesick, but I will just tough it out."
It won't be all new to York though. She already knows who her roommate in the dorm will be.
"On my summer team that I play on," York said, "a girl that I am really good friends with, we are going to dorm together. That makes me feel a lot more comfortable."
When York visited the campus, she got a chance to meet a few of the players and the coach. Upon leaving the meeting, York felt like she belonged already.
"I only got a chance to meet a couple of the players," York said. "The coach actually reminds me of my traveling team coach. So, I felt pretty comfortable with them and the girls, they seem pretty outgoing and goofy. So I will fit right in."
The biggest difference York will have to adjust to, is the start of the softball season. After years of playing softball during the fall sports season, York will be playing softball with the Lady Eagles in the spring. Central Methodist softball gets underway this afternoon in Shawnee, Oklahoma. That means York will have to wait for over a year to get back out on the diamond.