Lexi Moky went from the last to a first this season.
Moky, a freshman at Waubonsee Community College, is one of three Oswego graduates on a Chiefs team that has qualified for the NJCAA Division II National Tournament for the first time in program history.
Waubonsee (36-18) starts play in the 16-team, double-elimination tournament at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday against LSU-Eunice in Clinton, Mississippi.
An 11-hour bus ride south allowed Moky time to reflect on her interesting road here.
She originally committed to Aurora University, but switched at the last minute.
"We didn't think we would get her," Waubonsee coach Perry Clark said. "We went to Ally Miller's signing day with us and one of my student-athletes asked what I thought of Lexi. Next thing you know, next day she wants to come to our campus and next thing you kow she's signing her letter of intent. She's excelled."
Moky, who is majoring in criminal justice, was the last player to commit to this year's Waubonsee team.
"Never thought I'd be here," Moky said, "but I'm happy I decided to go here."
She's fit like a glove.
Moky has played third base, and hit third for the Chiefs.
Moky is hitting .396 with 13 doubles, 48 runs scored and 37 runs batted in for a potent Chiefs' lineup with a collective .381 average.
"She just makes good contact with the ball," Clark said. "She's embraced that hitting position, hitting third for us."
The national trip is a long time coming for Clark, himself a 1983 Oswego graduate in his 20th year at Waubonsee - the last 10 as head coach.
The Chiefs had reached the Region IV championship four of the last seven years, but never advanced. This Waubonsee team is 27-5 since a March trip to Florida, and won its seventh straight Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference title. The Chiefs held off Madison College 2-1 to take the Region IV District B title May 7 at Yorkville High School.
"It's an 800-pound gorilla off our back," Clark said.
Moky was a hero in the winner-take-all game, doubling in a run and scoring in the first inning.
"It came at the right time, definitely," Moky said. "If that hit didn't happen who knows where we'd be right now."
While Moky has been firmly entrenched at third, fellow freshman Miller from Oswego has proved a jack-of-all trades. She's hitting .299 in 46 games.
"We knew going in that Ally would be an outfielder, but we didn't know how versatile she was," Clark said. "She's our third catcher, she can play any infield position. She goes in and out hitting but defensively she's been enormous."
Waubonsee's third Oswego product, sophomore Ashley Jourdan, is 5-2 with a 4.17 earned run average in 14 appearances.
"I need 20 kids like Ashley," Clark said. "For her it's been the toughest year any sophomore can have, to go from our No. 1 pitcher to No. 3. She's filled that role, pinch hit, come in relief, pinch run, can play second our outfield. I give her a lot of credit."
The Chiefs go to nationals as the unknown. The No. 1 seed in Region IV, Clark said the target is off their backs now.
Moky just wants to make the best of the experience.
"We knew from our first practice that we had a good team," Moky said. We've never been here before and don't know what to expect. We're just going to give it our all."