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Motivated by being cut 8 years ago, Omaha Northwest's Gappa set to swing for the fences at Creighton
PREP SOFTBALL

Motivated by being cut 8 years ago, Omaha Northwest's Gappa set to swing for the fences at Creighton

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How well did Alyssa Gappa's recent visit to Creighton go?

Immediately after the visit was over, the Omaha Northwest senior went online and ordered a Creighton softball sweatshirt.

Gappa kept her options open, visiting Illinois a week later, but in the end, she found comfort with the campus in her backyard.

"I think just being close to home was a big thing, and I really liked the school and coaches," said Gappa, who recently announced her commitment to the Bluejays. "I don't know if it felt like this because I was at home, but I really like it a lot. When I left there, I knew."

It wasn't an easy decision for one of the state's most dangerous hitters. Gappa liked Illinois a lot and she had an offer from UMKC. Texas and Minnesota, two programs that recently reached the Women's College World Series, were interested, too.

Gappa can play just about anywhere on the field. She played shortstop for Omaha Northwest and will play at third base at Creighton. Illinois was interested in her as a catcher, a position she hadn't played for eight years, which shows her versatility.

More appealing to Division I programs was Gappa's bat, specifically her power.

She hit a Class A state-record .712 as a senior with seven homers, nine doubles and seven triples. She hit 40 career homers, including 18 as a junior. She also hit a walk-off grand slam during the PGF National quarterfinals this past summer for Iowa Premier Gold, which won a national title.

Gappa credits the amount of work she did with her father, Frank Gappa, who was a junior college All-America baseball player before playing at Kansas State.

"He's definitely been the guy that has taught me," said Gappa, who was recently ranked as the No. 80 recruit nationally in the 2020 class by Extra Innings Softball. "He just works with me constantly."

Gappa's hitting prowess is fueled by physical strength. And motivation.

"I'm going to be honest, about eight years ago I was about the worst hitter," Gappa said. "I got cut from a (club) team for not being a good hitter, so I definitely think that changed my mindset. Ever since that, I was always in the cage, going to hitting lessons, working with my dad. It was nonstop and now I'm to a level that I never thought I'd be at."

Eight years after getting cut, Gappa is a soon-to-be Division I softball player.

"They (Creighton) made me really excited for the future there," Gappa said. "It was very welcoming."

Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.

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