Junior College Softball: Heen a hitting machine

Cassidy Heen, a 2013 San Benito High graduate, has been downright sensational for the San Jose City College softball team. Heen ranks among the team leaders in all of the major offensive categories. 

After one semester at Hawaii Pacific University, Cassidy Heen came home to Hollister, heartbroken and devastated.
But out of the emotional rubble, Heen emerged a stronger person. Heen, a sophomore left fielder/first baseman for the San Jose City College softball team, spent just one semester at Hawaii Pacific before leaving after ‘she struggled with what they were promising me.’
Heen said Hawaii Pacific wanted her to pitch, something she said she never agreed to do after becoming a full-time position player in her sophomore year at San Benito High.
“I definitely think I’m a much stronger person going through not just the Hawaii thing, but my freshman year (at SJC) wasn’t the greatest (from a production standpoint),” said Heen a 2013 San Benito High graduate. “But it made me mature in a way, and I’ve always been taught to stick with things and get through it. Leaving Hawaii broke my heart because I love that place. But coming back home, I realized I needed to work my way back to the top and prove I could be more than a pitcher.”
Heen has done that and then some. The 5-foot-2 Heen, who hits fourth or fifth in the lineup, ranks first or second on the team in several offensive categories, including at-bats, home runs, hits, runs scored, doubles and runs batted in.
She also has nine stolen bases without having ever been caught, and she’s struck out just five times in 110 at-bats for a San Jose City team that finished the regular season with an 19-18-1 overall record and 10-5 mark in the Pacific Coast South Conference.
The Jaguars are close to earning a berth in the Northern California playoffs. It’s safe to say that Heen’s moment of adversity revealed a greatness and beauty out of her character that she probably didn’t know she had. Things have come full circle for Heen, who actually got into the sport because her younger sister, Callee, a junior two-sport standout at San Benito High, started softball at an early age.
The two have grown particularly close over the last several years, and Cassidy beams with pride as she talks about Callee’s achievements thus far.
“My sister is one of my best friends and I’m her biggest supporter,” Cassidy said. “I’m really proud of her that she’s been able to do so much at a young age. I think her accomplishments are awesome, and we had a lot of great times together. My favorite memory at San Benito was senior year and playing with my sister on the same team. We had each other’s backs, and that really brought us closer together.”
Cassidy, who is three years older than Callee, grew up as a pitcher and outfielder. However, Heen quit pitching in her sophomore year of high school to focus on hitting and playing the field.
Heen has another younger sister, Chloe, who is an eighth grader at Rancho San Justo Middle School.
“It’s going to be fun watching Chloe grow into a basketball player,” Heen said. “I can’t wait to see what she does now and in the future.”
After leaving Hawaii Pacific, Heen said she chose to play at San Jose City because Jaguars coach Debbie Rooney showed immediate interest and kept in close communication with Heen. It’s turned out to be a perfect fit for Heen, who has emerged as a standout player and is currently enjoying the best season of her career.
“I’m a lot more confident now,” she said. “I feel more relaxed and comfortable, and the game feels easier. The transition from Hawaii to here wasn’t a hard transition at all because my teammates were very welcoming, and that made a big difference.”
Although Heen has yet to receive any scholarship offers from four-year schools to play softball next year, it would be hard to imagine a program not offering her a chance to play given her production this season.
Whatever happens, Heen can rest in the fact that she made the best out of a not-so-ideal situation, emerging as a stronger, more complete person.

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