FUTURE GRIZZLEY: Shawe’s Megan Goebel, the Hilltoppers’ left-fielder, was a .485 hitter a year ago and is batting .350 with 12 RBIs this season. She plans to attend Franklin College and play softball for the Grizzlies next year. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
FUTURE GRIZZLEY: Shawe’s Megan Goebel, the Hilltoppers’ left-fielder, was a .485 hitter a year ago and is batting .350 with 12 RBIs this season. She plans to attend Franklin College and play softball for the Grizzlies next year. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Megan Goebel had already hoped to go to Franklin College in order to take advantage of the school's highly-touted athletic training program. To also get to play softball while she is there was just icing on the cake.

Goebel announced on Tuesday her decision to head to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference school. A four-year starter for the Hilltoppers, Goebel hopes to get the chance to have the same kind of impact at Franklin.

"I applied in the end of October and I applied because I had heard they have a really good athletic training program," Goebel said. "And I knew that it was my only chance to play softball because every other school like that is Division I or Division II."

Shortly after enrolling in the college, Goebel contacted Franklin coach Butch Zike to express her interest in playing for his team. The coach invited her to visit the school and showed her around.

"I went up there in February for an overnight and I stayed with one of the other girls on the team and experienced what a practice was going to be like," Goebel said. "It was different but I think I would improve so much more by going and that I would learn more than I've ever learned before.

"I didn't know if I wanted a big or small (school) going into this year," Goebel added. "I went there and realized that all of the classes were small and it was a lot like here and that was one of the biggest reasons why I picked it. I know that the athletic training program is very concentrated and it is geared toward athletes that want to do it."

Franklin's athletic training program has a 100 percent placement rate and Goebel will be part of the first class of the school's new master's program.

Goebel started for the Hilltoppers from her first day, manning first base as a freshman. Over the years she has played nearly every position on the field but has settled in as the team's left-fielder where she made just one error a year ago.

But through all of the position changes she has maintained her status as the team's best hitter. She batted .485 a year ago and although she has dipped at the plate this year, Goebel is still hitting .350 with 12 RBIs and five runs scored in nine games for a Shawe team that has had trouble scoring all season.

"She's done everything for me," Shawe coach Gary VanWye. "I've played her everywhere. Heck, she even pitched for me this year. She's been one of our captains and one of the players that we lean on."

Although she only committed one error a year ago, defense is an area where she feels she still needs to improve.

"Especially situational defense," Goebel said, "and I think I can get better with my hitting."

Franklin had one of its best seasons in the past decade when the Grizzlies went 21-17 overall, including 8-8 in the HCAC. Franklin split their two games with Hanover this season.