AIMING FOR THE NEXT LEVEL: Dewey softball player revs up to play for Tulsa

·3 min read
Parents Stephanie, left, and Ryan, right, look on while Dewey High's Gabby Higbee inks her letter of intent to play softball for the University of Tulsa.
Parents Stephanie, left, and Ryan, right, look on while Dewey High's Gabby Higbee inks her letter of intent to play softball for the University of Tulsa.

One way or another, Dewey High School softball standout Gabby Higbee eyed a college career on the big stage.

The supersonic center fielder and charismatic offensive force originally committed to play for Texas A&M.

But, after that coach resigned, Higbee uncommitted from A&M and chose to accept an offer from the University of Tulsa.

“I’m really just looking forward that all the hard work I’ve put in will finally pay off,” said the multi-talented athletic warrior. “Tulsa contacted me since I was around 14 years old.”

During the years since then, Higbee stormed to a stunning prep sports career.

On the softball diamond, she helped the Lady Dogger program qualify for state for the first time around or before the time she was born.

Last fall, Dewey softball returned to state — the team’s first back-to-back seasons at the Big Show since the 1990s. The Lady Doggers also advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in more than 20 seasons.

On the basketball court, Higbee contributed explosive scoring, intense defense and impeccable focus during her prep days.

And, on the track, she honed herself her junior season (2021) into one of the top girls’ hurdlers in the state in Dewey’s class.

But, Higbee had to overcome serious injury adversity her senior season.

An injury sidelined her for a good chunk of the basketball season and also convinced her — and her track coach — to skip hurdles’ competition in order not to risk her college softball career.

Higbee said her bout with health adversity proved to be a valuable lesson.

“As an athlete, it’s important to be making sure you’re taking care of your body whenever possible,” she said. “As a kid you think you can go out and run and do anything. But, you learn you have to prepare your body.”

She also learned from her adversity to “not to take things for granted. It was really scary. I didn’t think I’d be able to finish basketball. Having a second opportunity was really encouraging.”

Higbee’s No. 1 sport has been softball.

She started competing in it at age 10 on a competitive team her father assembled.

“I’ve just played ever since,” she said.

Higbee looked forward throughout her youth of playing on the diamond for Dewey High.

“Whenever I came in as a freshman I was looking forward at having Coach (Niki) Keck as a coach,” she said. “She was working to chance the culture around the softball team. WE went to making state twice, which was the most exciting thing.”

Higbee established herself as one of the top offensive players in state, combining home run power with gap hitting and blazing speed on the basepath.

She batted in one of the top two spots in the lineup throughout her Dewey career.

In Dewey’s historic state quarterfinal win last fall against Perry, 4-2, Higbee finished 2-for-3 at the plate and scored a run.

During an 8-7 win against Kiefer — which capped an unbeaten district record for Dewey — Higbee crushed a solo homer and doubled.

Tulsa’s softball team finished 18-30-1 last season, including a 7-9-1 conference mark.

This article originally appeared on Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise: Focus on Dewey High softball player bound to play for Tulsa