2008 Websider.com Aggie Athlete of the Year

Some athletes just have "it," and Aggie softball All-American is one of them. That's why Gibson is the 2008 Websider.com Aggie Athlete of the Year. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp takes a look back at Gibson's spectacular senior season that ended with the Aggies return to the NCAA WCWS Championship Series.

Every once in a while, as sports fans, you get a chance to see someone who is not only a tremendous athlete, but they've got "it." As a Texas A&M sports fan, you remember players like Acie Law IV, Dat Nguyen, "Big John" Byington and Casey Fossum. They all had "it."

When the clock was winding down, Law wanted to take the shot. When the Aggies needed a stop, Nguyen would get it for you. When you were down and had the bases loaded, Byington was there—twice. When you needed a strikeout to go to Omaha, Fossum came through.

A&M softball coach Jo Evans says Megan Gibson has "it" as well.

"Her sheer will and determination is pretty phenomenal and comes along maybe a couple of times in a coach's career," said Evans, who has been coaching college softball for 23 years. "I just cannot say enough about her."

That will and determination is what led the Aggies to the Women's College World Series Championship, and it's also why Gibson is the 2007-2008 Websider.com Aggie Athlete of the Year.

As is tradition for the Aggie softball seniors, Gibson left her cleats at home plate after the Aggies' season ended at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, along with those of Jamie Hinshaw, Jami Lobpries, and Gibson's best friend, Amanda Scarbrough.

But none will be bigger to fill next year than Gibson's.

The Aggie was one of three finalists for the National Player of the Year award, and proved to most in the college softball world that she was the rightful owner of the award after knocking off Virginia Tech and award winner Angela Tincher in the first round of the WCWS, and advancing to the championship series.

Gibson posted an impressive 41-4 record and 1.20 ERA in the circle for the Aggies. In 303.2 innings of work, Gibson fanned 344 batters, averaging eight strikeouts per game. The Spring, Texas-native is holding opponents to an impressive .176 batting average, limiting her opposition to just over one run per game.

Gibson's numbers were good enough to earn Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honors this year, but her numbers in the batter's box were just as impressive, earning her Big 12 Player of the Year honors as well—the first time in conference history that one player as taken both awards.

Gibson hit .339 at the plate this season. The four-time All-American drove in a team-high 48 RBIs off 62 hits, including a team-leading 17 doubles and 13 homeruns.

But what made Gibson special wasn't her numbers. It's the way that she carried her team to Oklahoma City after Scarbrough went down with a season-ending injury, and what she did once she got them back to the WCWS.

The Aggies lost the first game against top-seeded Florida on Sunday, forcing an elimination game later that day. The winner advanced to the national championship series, the loser went home.

Gibson was nails in a game that was 0-0 heading into the ninth inning. She threw nine scoreless innings, allowing just seven hits in that span.

"Megan Gibson was vintage Gibson," Evans said after the win, which also sparked a raucous round of applause 375 miles south at Olsen Field, as fans listened on the radio while watching the Aggie baseball team in action. "She is so tough out there and she just willed this to happen. When we could not put runs across we set the table several times and could not get a big hit, she was the one that hung in out there and gave us a chance, a chance to find a way to score a run."

The Aggies finally found a way to score the only run of the game in the ninth inning, advancing to the WCWS Championship Series for the first time since 1987.

And even though the Aggies fell short of the national title, Gibson ended her career the way that it should have ended—well, almost.

In her final at bat, the Aggies were down 4-0 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, against an Arizona State team that was 59-0 on the year when scoring three runs or more. The odds of coming back were slim to none.

But Gibson didn't care.

The All-American laced a double down the left field line then stole third base in her final appearance on the base paths as a collegiate athlete, desperately hoping to scratch a run across for the Aggies.

Then in the top of the seventh, the last inning she would pitch as an Aggie, Arizona State scored seven runs, but Gibson would have had to be sedated to come off the field, and Evans knew it.

Even down 11-0—the largest margin of victory in NCAA Championship Series history—Gibson was still Gibson, striking out the last batter she ever faced.

The strikeout didn't clinch the national championship like Gibson and the Aggies had dreamed of, but it was still Gibson. She fought to the bitter end.

And even in defeat, she still had "it."

2008 Websider.com Aggie Athlete of the Year Finalists
Dominique Kirk, Men's Basketball
Danielle Gant, Women's Basketball
Ashlee Pistorius, Soccer

Websider.com Aggie Athlete of the Year Winners
2007 – Acie Law IV, Men's Basketball
2008 – Megan Gibson, Softball

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