Friday May 14th, 2021

2020 Free Agent OF/P Derek Von Heeder




Derek Von Heeder

USSSA Playing History

Interview conducted on 10/21/2019

Free Agent – Derek Von Heeder

What positions do you play and what is your best position?
Pitcher and Left Field. I have always been a natural outfielder but, after gaining some size to get power I developed into a very efficient pitcher. But now that I have leaned back up and haven't lost any strength LF is another viable option for me on defense. Also, corner infield.

Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
Playing in the conference the past 2 years and playing all the regional conference events for the past 7-10 years I have had the opportunity to see and play against a lot of great ball players. Some of the best on and off the field would have to be Kyle Pearson, Travis Clark, Jason Branch.

Why do you like the game of softball?
Softball is my outlet from the real world and allows me to keep a high level of competition and ultimately feel like a kid again.

Who is the best up and coming player in softball and why?
I would have to say one of the best up and coming players in the conference is Zach St. Pierre. Even though he has been given the opportunity to return to college ball he quickly made a name for him self on Woodlaw and getting picked up by Nightmare for the 2019 season. But the kid is not only athletic but is a great team mate.

What is your nickname in softball and how did you get it?
With the last name Von Heeder I get all kinds of inappropriate nick names from teammates. But growing up through baseball I was always called "DK"

What is your height and weight?
6'0" 225lbs

Where do you call home?
Houston, TX

What's your favorite way to spend an off weekend?
My favorite way to spend an off weekend is going out with my Wife and 2 yr old little girl. If it wasn't for them I would not have the ability to play the high level of softball I get to play.

What do you do for a living?
I am a Project Controls Special at the Shell Deer Park Refinery

Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
I played high school Baseball and Football. I never had the opportunity to play college sports

How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
I started playing softball the summer after my senior year in High School. I worked my way to C class softball fairly quick. But I owe my start in the conference to Steve Whaley putting my name out there from there I have continued to put work in and continue to improve to stay at this level.

What was the most surprising difference between Conference play and non-Conference play when you made the jump?
The most surprising difference would the pitching quality. In non conference you seem to see pitchers do a lot more dancing and pump faking. In the conference pitchers seem to focus more on pitch placement and ball movement

Is there a player that you would compare your game to?
I don't necessarily have anyone I would compare my game to specifically but, I would say I try to model my game after players like Brian Wegman and Jason Branch. They are both always giving 110% and play the game correctly and do what they need to do when they need to do it.

What would you say is your career highlight to this point? Maybe one play or game that sticks out to you in particular?
I would say my career highlight in the conference would be the game I pitched against Resmondo in the 2018 Florida Dual. We were on the stadium I was able to hold them under 16 Runs for the first 6 innings and we were able to hold onto the lead until the bottom of the 6th and only lone 26 – 22.

In your career was there a single person (player/manager/coach) who had the most significant impact on your approach to the game? Why?
There have been several players in the Conference that have had a huge impact on my game and how I look at the game. If I was to pick out a single player I would definitely say Steve Whaley. Not only do we take BP together and play league. He has been a true friend and never steered me wrong. He as been successful in the conference for a long time and has shared all his experiences with me, the good and the bad.

What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
The best advice I could give a young player trying to get into the conference is to put the work in. Just playing league night 4 nights a week isn't going to cut it. You need to be in the weight room, putting in tee work, live BP and sharpening your defensive skills.

What type of batting grip do you use and what ounce bat?
I use and over lap grip and hang my bottom pinks off the knob.

What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
I continue to take BP year around and stay in the gym consistently.

What is your favorite sports team and your favorite sport other than softball?
My favorite sports team is the Houston Astros and of course my favorite sport is Baseball.

What would be your "at bat" music selection?
Disturbed – "Down with the Sickness" or Lil Wayne "Right Above It"

What is your favorite non-World tournament and why?
My favorite and least favorite non-world tournament would have to be the Florida Dual. I love it because its early in the season has the best competition and you get to start playing ball on Thursday. But this tournament will definitely wear you out.

What is the best softball field/complex you have played at and why?
The best softball complex I have had the pleasure of playing would have to be the new USSSA Complex in Viera, FL. Even though I would really wish they would get some shade built for the fields out back. They did a great job with the dimensions and the all turf fields.

What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
I would have to say one of the funniest and most terrifying things I have seen on a softball field would have to be last year win Dennis Shrum snapped a bat over his knee with ease then comes back to the dugout and ask, "Do you think that would void the warranty?"

What was your favorite sports related gift you have ever given or received?
My favorite sports related gift I have every received was from my wife about 4 years ago when I received and autographed baseball from Yogi Bera and another from Craig Biggio.


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