11:09 AM EDT, July 11, 2012
Lauren Gibson has always dreamed big, even when she was sporting an extra-small Lake Shore Lightning softball uniform that drenched her as the 4-year-old batgirl for her older sister's club team.
Set to turn 21 next month, the former Chesapeake-AA standout has found a uniform that fits just fine these days, while fulfilling that lifelong dream.
In her second year as a member of the USA women's national team, Gibson has become a fixture as its starting second baseman.
Team USA will compete in the Women's World Fastpitch Championships set to begin Thursday in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.
"To be able to play for my country is just amazing," said Gibson, an All-American at Tennessee who will be a senior this fall. "The highlight for me was first putting on the uniform and also having the opportunity to be a role model for younger girls. It allows them to believe that your dreams can come true."
At Chesapeake, Gibson was a two-time All-Metro Player of the Year in leading the Cougars to two state titles. As a three-year starter at Tennessee, she has batted .352 with 26 homeruns, 143 RBIs and 113 runs scored, while developing into one of the country's finest defensive second baseman.
A last-minute replacement for tryouts for Team USA last summer, she made an impression and has developed into a prominent member. In the title game of the Canadian Open Fastpitch Championship in British Columbia on Sunday, she went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in a 9-6 loss to Japan. She finished 7-for-14 in the tournament.
"Ever since I was younger, everybody allowed me to dream, but I think in everyone's minds it was like 'Yeah, you're just another one of the little girls that wants to be on that team.' But after realizing how all my hard work and everything I put into softball really paid off and my dream came true -- it was awesome," she said.
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