Editor's note: Abby Ramirez is heading back to the Women's College World Series after Michigan beat Missouri in an NCAA super regional on Sunday.
CHICAGO — Abby Ramirez's softball mission has been to reach the Women's College World Series since she was a 6-year-old competing for a Clear Ridge park district team at Hale Park near her family's Clearing home a few miles from Midway Airport.
Thirteen years later, the Michigan sophomore has accomplished her goal as the No. 3 Wolverines lost to No. 1 Florida in the 2015 national championship.
"It's been a dream since I was little," Ramirez, 19, said last year from Oklahoma City, where the series takes place. "It's amazing that I'm here, and hopefully we can win the national championship."
Abby Ramirez has been a standout second baseman and shortstop for the Wolverines this year. [Michigan Athletics}
Ramirez and the Wolverines have had amazing seasons. The infielder, who was named All-Big Ten Second Team, is hitting .357 with 50 runs scored and 22 RBIs. She has 60 putouts, 88 assists and just seven errors.
Justin Breen says Ramirez is the only Chicagoan in the World Series:
The Wolverines had won 25 straight games, last losing on April 3, before falling to Florida. In that winning span, they outscored opponents 225-36, but Michigan also has rallied from behind in seven of those victories.
"We have a lot of trust in each other," Ramirez said. "Even when we're down, we know we're going to get it done, and we have so much confidence in each other."
Even as a child on a Clear Ridge Park District softball team, Chicago native Abby Ramirez was a standout player. [Ruben Ramirez]
Abby was the Illinois Player of the Year as a senior at Trinity, where she hit .596 with an IHSA Class 4A-record 20 home runs, 60 runs scored and 20 stolen bases.
That complemented her play for the Beverly Bandits, an elite Illinois-based club outfit that has sent dozens of players to Division I programs.
Ramirez's father, Ruben, told DNAinfo Chicago last year his daughter was always destined to be a great softball player.
"As a baby, she was always moving, always feisty," said Ruben Ramirez, a Chicago Police officer. "Even coming out, she was healthy and full of energy. I really think that's what made her different, just from the beginning. She has fought all the way since birth."
A year before Ramirez was on her first team, Ruben took her and his two other children, Mimi and Andrew, to a local park for a T-ball game. Ramirez, then 5, was too young to play but started crying until she was given a chance to whack the ball.
"And all of a sudden, she's hitting bombs off the tee, and we were like, 'What do we have here?' and our jaws dropped," said Ruben, a De La Salle Institute graduate. "She was using her whole body and everything. The older players were scared, but she had no fear."
Ramirez said her dad and mom, Lynn, siblings and an aunt will be attending the games in Oklahoma City.
Ramirez and the Wolverines came up just short of reaching the Women's College World Series last year, losing to Florida State in a best-of-three Super Regional. She actually played on the series field as a 12-year-old in the Hall of Fame club tournament, but expects this experience to be dramatically different.
"I've wanted to get back here ever since," Ramirez said. "I want to play in front of a huge crowd, not just my parents."
Clearing native Abby Ramirez has a .357 batting average for the Wolverines this season. [Michigan Athletics}
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