Osage senior Kerrigan Gamm saw one of her dreams turn into reality on Wednesday afternoon when she put her name on the dotted line and signed her national letter of intent to play softball for Southern Illinois University with friends, family, teammates and coaches in attendance.

A dream can turn into reality for anyone who is willing to put in the work.

Osage senior Kerrigan Gamm saw one of her dreams turn into reality on Wednesday afternoon when she put her name on the dotted line and signed her national letter of intent to play softball for Southern Illinois University with friends, family, teammates and coaches in attendance.

“I’m just proud to see her dreams come to realization knowing the amount of work she has put in. I’m just overwhelmed with pride,” Osage coach David Flaspohler said.

For Gamm, that work began in her early days in Las Vegas where she played co-ed baseball and basketball. Originally from the Lake area, she moved back to the Lake around the time she reached the third grade and it was then that she began playing softball. It did not take long for her passion to kindle and whether it was practices at 5 in the morning or a countless stretch of games, Gamm was no stranger to the diamond and noted how much she enjoyed the competitive aspect of the sport.

“It took a lot of countless hours and hard work,” the senior recalled. “It took a hard grind. Sometimes you don’t get a break for a while and I’m constantly playing softball year round so the grind kept me going and I found a passion in what I really like to do.”

However, she also pointed out that her success was not achieved alone.

“Thank you to all my family and friends and everyone who has given me the opportunity to be the person I am today and all the accomplishments I’ve had,” Gamm remarked.

Speaking of those accomplishments, it may be no surprise why the Salukis of Southern Illinois had their eyes on Gamm.

During her four years at Osage, she was a career .476 hitter with 25 home runs and 95 RBIs. She also had the highest batting average in the state of Missouri her sophomore season at .609. As a pitcher, she finished with a record of 19-6 and three saves and turned in 149 2/3 innings of work with an ERA of 1.73 that featured 103 strikeouts and just 56 walks. That streak also featured 20 complete game including 11 alone her senior season. Gamm also finished with a career fielding percentage of .961.

The senior also set the standard in several categories at Osage, leaving the program as the career record holder in batting average, on-base percentage (.512), slugging percentage (.858), hits (147), doubles (33), triples (5), home runs, runs scored (117) and stolen bases (13).

For her efforts, Gamm was named 1st Team All-Conference three times, 2nd Team All-Conference once, 1st Team All-District all four years, 1st Team All-Region once, 2nd Team All-Region once, 1st Team All-State once and Academic All-State three times. Gamm was also named the Team MVP her freshman season and was recognized as the Tri-County Conference’s Most Outstanding Player her sophomore season when she also went on to earn All-State honors.

But beyond all the accolades, what impressed Flaspohler the most about Gamm was her game management and how good of a teammate she was.

“She has always been a tremendous athlete,” the coach noted. “She has a heart gold and cares about the people around her. I think that is what makes her so special because she is so good at softball that we knew that is what it was going to be. For her to attribute the rest of the team the way she did, I think that is what means the most.

“They (Southern Illinois) are getting somebody with astounding character. They could not ask for anyone better and she is going to do unbelievable things there.”

Gamm is certainly hoping for that to be the case and noted that the Division I school in Carbondale, Ill., felt like the right place to be.

“I went up there three or four times, met with the coaches and the rest of the team and every time I went there it kind of felt like home and it really just stuck out to me,” Gamm said. “I really like the coach (Kerri Blaylock) a lot and she seems like she’ll be another mom to me while I’m gone. It really stuck out and I knew it was the one.”

Joining a fairly good team may have influenced her decision as well as Gamm will be joining a program that recently played in the NCAA Tournament. She is looking forward to doing what she can to contribute and noted that she may be playing short stop or serve a utility role to fill in where needed while providing her bat.

“I’m really excited to see what I can contribute to the team and I know the girls who committed today are also really good,” she said. “We have a good shot at going far.”

Gamm certainly has an idea of what success looks like after helping the Indians claim the program’s first district title in 2017 and reach the district championship game this past season. The senior said it was a rush and overall, it has been a fun ride the past four years.

“My class was the first year Flaspohler had us for all four years,” Gamm recalled. “Going in as a freshman and him being new to it, it was kind of like a journey for us all. I think the coaches have a huge impact and the atmosphere the school brings is what I’ll probably miss.”

The feeling is mutual for Flaspohler who will miss having Gamm in the lineup.

“I am going to miss her every day. The joy and passion she has for the game and to be able to share that with everyone else, I think it rubs off on everyone else and we are going to miss that the most.”

But Gamm’s influence does not end there.

“I’m not sure I have to say too much because she led by example,” Flaspohler said of what could be learned by future players about Gamm. “The impact she is going to leave on younger generations I think is going to speak for itself.”

As for the Indians who will take the field next fall, Gamm is hoping they make the most of their time and opportunities.

“Always give it everything you can. Four years of high school goes by fast so you have to make it the best with what you got,” the senior said.

Gamm intends to study radiologic sciences and become a radiologist or ultrasound technician while having the opportunity to continue playing a game she loves.

“It becoming official today is like the greatest feeling in the world right now,” Gamm said as her dream turned into reality.