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Softball player raises ‘Ruckus’ in Tennessee

Samantha Gibson by any measure had a successful season pitching for the Comets’ varsity softball team, being name Player of the Year for the Western Valley District, as well as being named to the All-Northwest Region and Virginia High School Coaches Association all state teams. To help reach that pinnacle of success, Gibson has played the past two years for Richmond Ruckus Teal, a 16 and under travel team, which placed 24th among 174 teams recently at the ASA Nationals in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Gibson pitched in seven games during the tournament, finishing with a 5-2 record against some of the toughest competition in the nation.

She has pitched in eight different tournaments this year against 37 different teams, with 113 hits allowed in 157 innings pitched.

Gibson has given up 57 earned runs while striking out 131 batters and walking 31.

Her travel team has played in NSA, ASA and showcase tournaments the past two years, according to Gibson, with only one tourney being played in Virginia.

“Some of my teammates include players from the Richmond and Chesterfield area, and I have the furthest drive for practice,” said Gibson.

No hitters are few and far between considering the talent level she sees at her tournaments, particularly nationals, she added.

“You can’t go over there and expect to pitch no-hitters, and pitching for the Ruckus has made me learn to pitch finer, so placement is a big thing,” Gibson explained.

“My coach told me never to miss high, and you have to nibble around the plate, because the hitters are so good they’re capable of hitting one out.

“I can’t go in looking to strike everybody out.”

Gibson’s repertoire of pitches includes a screwball, fastball, change up, drop ball and a dose of high heat.

Her primary pitch last season for the Comets was a screwball and fastball.

“I already have good stable of pitches, and now I’m looking to refine what I have,” said Gibson, who admitted at being surprised with her all-state selection.

“I was shocked when I was selected all-state.  “I was out of town and my dad called and said, ‘How does it feel to be all-state’ and my jaw dropped.”

“It’s exciting, rewarding, and gives me motivation to do even better next season.”

She plays about 100-110 games a year with the Ruckus, primarily in the fall and summer.

“A pop out or flyout at this level is just as good as a strikeout,” Gibson explained.

In her spare time, Gibson has been helping younger girls learn to pitch, and a lot of them immediately know who she is from attending Comets’ softball games.

“They tell me they want to pitch just like I do when they get older, she said with a grin.

“I recall I looked up to Paige Rickman and Stephanie Clark when they pitched.  I was in elementary school and saw them pitch in middle school, and I said I wanted to be just like them.

“They were my role models when it came to softball.”

“It’s an indescribable feeling, and I try to be a very humble person when it comes to softball.  I try to give the younger girls positive feedback,” added Gibson.

“It makes me feel all the hard work has paid off.”