Central City's Gabby Moser is the honorary captain of the 2019 All-Heartland softball team. (Independent/Barrett Stinson)

Even though she started from Day 1 of her high school career, Gabby Moser still went through some learning experiences during her senior softball season at Central City.

A natural leader, Moser learned to embrace the role of team captain of a younger squad. She took time to help out those less experienced members of the team, and that helped the Bison put together a nine-game winning streak after a 2-6 start. The team finished 20-13 and made it to the championship game of their district.

At the plate, the accomplished hitter learned the virtue of patience. After breaking the Class C single-season home run record as a junior, Moser found that pitchers weren’t just going to challenge her with a fastball down the middle.

She made her adjustments and went on to hit .605 (46-for-76) with 67 runs, 50 RBIs and 15 home runs.

“I feel really good about our season,” said Moser, a South Dakota recruit. “I knew coming in that we had a lot of potential. But I didn’t know how things would go since we had a younger team.

“We made it all the way to a district final, and that hasn’t happened a lot at Central City. I’m glad to have been a part of it.”

For her performance, Moser has been selected as the Independent’s All-Heartland Super Squad honorary captain.

Moser ends her Central City softball career owning a plethora of state and school records.

She set the Class C marks for home runs in a season (21 last year), career home runs (48, shattering the old record of 33), career runs (226, with the old mark standing at 188), career RBIs (178) and career triples (tied the record of 24).

Moser also has school records for runs in a season (67) and a game (5), RBIs in a season (50) and game (7), stolen bases in a season (32) and career (104), and walks in a season (28).

She said this year was a bit of an unknown at the plate coming off such a strong junior season.

“I didn’t know what to expect after last year,” she said. “A lot of games I got intentionally walked, and I had to learn to deal with that. I wanted to do whatever I could to help my team.”

That even including serving as Central City’s No. 2 pitcher, a role that she didn’t enjoy nearly as much as her usual spot at shortstop.

Neely Moser, Gabby’s head coach and mother, said she is a unique player who can break records in both power and speed categories. Neely saw how Gabby had to adjust early in the season to the new approach pitchers were taking against her.

“In one game, they walked her all four times, and she scored our only four runs in a 4-3 win,” Neely said. “She is so athletic and has a quick reaction time. But everybody started to pitch her only on the outside.

“She had to learn how to be patient this year. We talked about how they want her to swing at bad pitches. She learned a lot over the past four years, and she wanted to help the team. I told her that if they walk her, that’s the same thing as a hit.”

While Gabby’s numbers speak for themselves, Neely said her biggest contribution to the Bison probably won’t even show up in the impressive statistics.

“She’s been on top of everything else a great leader,” she said. “She is always willing to help the younger girls and has an innate sense of how to help them make adjustments with their batting and fielding. She would be good at coaching.”

Gabby said she does enjoy helping other players improve. She is going the pre med route at South Dakota, so coaching probably isn’t in her future anytime soon, but “I think I would like to do it someday either with my own kids or other kids. You feel good when you can work with other people and help them get better.”

For Gabby, the hard work that made her a Division I recruit started at a young age.

“When I was about 10 years old, I started playing along with my sister’s 14U team,” she said.

“I remember it being really, really hard for me. But it made me so much better. I didn’t think that I really liked it back then, but I knew that since I kept coming back to it, it was something that I did want to do.”

Gabby has had plenty of individual accomplishments, both for the Bison and with the Nebraska Gold during the club season.

But for her, the best moment from her high school career came early on. It was when the Bison qualified for the state tournament and she got to experience that playing for her mother and with her sister Maddie, who was a pitcher on the team.

“Definitely the state tournament my freshman year was the best highlight,” she said. “That was probably the most bittersweet thing about this year. We were so close to making it again.

“When we made it my freshman year, it was an amazing experience. It’s one of those things that some people make it every year and some people never make it. I was glad that we made it, and I never took that for granted.”

From what Neely has seen of Gabby’s work ethic from both of her roles as coach and mom, she thinks she has what it takes to make that transition to the next level.

“She has a great work ethic,” Neely said. “She hits all the time. It doesn’t matter if she has to hit a tennis ball on the wall. And her work ethic isn’t only there for softball, it’s there for her personal life and academics too.

“She’s learned a lot and is a great leader. She asked me what it will be like to be a freshman again. There will be girls three years older than she is. But she can still be the type who is a leader by example.”

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