In her first year at the community college level, Grace Helyer is already opening eyes.
The Dalles High School graduate led Mount Hood Community College in four offensive categories and picked up second-team all-Northwest Athletic Conference honors for her play in the infield.
“As a freshman and being a starter on the team, playing either third base or catcher, earning this was very rewarding,” Helyer said. “There were some tough competitors, so it felt great to get be chosen out of everyone else.”
In 29 games, Helyer led Mount Hood with nine home runs, 34 RBIs, 19 walks and added a team-low four strikeouts in 85 at-bats.
She was second on the squad with a .388 batting average, 30 runs scored, 33 hits and had four stolen bases.
Those numbers are a sharp uptick from her senior campaign in 2016, where she was a second-team all-Columbia River Conference winner.
Helyer scored 17 runs, had 23 hits, three doubles, had 25 RBIs, 11 walks and just six strikeouts in 72 plate appearances.
The Mount Hood team had a 10-19 record on a roster of eight sophomores, nine freshmen.
With the guidance and kind words from her veteran teammates, Helyer was able to find her role easier through their support.
“The sophomores made it very easy for me to transition and make me feel comfortable,” Helyer said. “They treated me like family right away and I felt like I was accepted into it.”
Once she is healthy, she plans to get in workout sessions provided by coach Brittney Hendrickson to improve strength, speed and mobility.
As of now, Helyer is unsure of her plans for next year, but is planning a tour and a talk with the coaches at Concordia.
She has also been looked at by Portland State and other state colleges, so there are plenty of options available.
“I will be sending out my stats to coaches across the country in hopes to keep my softball career going,” Helyer added. “I am looking at several different career choices also. I am undecided, but very interested in criminology or a route in education.”