FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) – For Arkansas’ Danielle Gibson, it’s hard to remember a time when she wasn’t playing softball.
“I just love the sport, I love learning about it, I love learning new things, it comes easy cause I love it, so that’s why I feel like it comes easy,” Gibson said.
Starting at just six years old, it didn’t take long for her mom to see, the infielder had something special on the diamond.
“I saw the skill and there still kind of lanky and quirky and growing into their bodies, but there’s something like she’s got something and she gets it,” Ruth Gibson said.
After committing to play collegiate ball at Arizona State at 15 years old, her experience as a freshman wasn’t how she envisioned it.
“It was a devastating time for her, and very traumatic, but she came to the conclusion, like ‘Mom I got to go’ and I said ‘okay’,” Ruth said.
Once she entered the portal, coaches were reaching out to her left and right, but it was the Razorbacks who could give her something no one else could.
“When I talked to Coach Deifel, it just felt right. I wanted the friendships and the relationships more going to a world series, more than winning a world series, here I have the best of both, we’re just as good and I have relationships with my coaches that mean the most to me,” Gibson said.
At just 19 years old, the California native took a giant leap of faith and committed to Arkansas.
“To have the strength and the faith to know I’m making the right decision and to never look back and she didn’t,” Ruth said.
“I needed Arkansas, I needed it for my own journey in life, this was the next step for me, I met my husband here, I love Fayetteville, it’s my home and it was just something that needed to happen whether it was my sophomore year or my freshman year when I transferred,” Gibson said.
As much as Gibson needed Arkansas, Arkansas also needed her and the team just wouldn’t be complete without Gibby.
She’s been a dominant force at the plate for the Hogs, hitting .480 on the season with 14 home runs, 59 hits, 46 RBI and 39 runs scored. She also has a .536 on base percentage and .902 slugging percentage.
On Wednesday, it was announced she was named a Top 25 finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award.
Gibson and the rest of the Razorbacks will get on the road this weekend and head to Gainesville to take on No. 9 Florida. First game is set for Friday at 7 p.m.