ST. JOSEPH (WCIA) — Playing at her dream school can still feel surreal for Bailey Dowling.

“I was sitting on the bench looking at the field and I was like, ‘Holy cow, I am here. I have made my dreams come true,'” Dowling said. “I remember that moment and I still do that sometimes when I get caught up and I just look at the field and I’m like, ‘Wow this is awesome.'”

The St. Joseph-Ogden grad and three-time WCIA3 Softball Player of the Year has been a two-year starter at the University of Alabama, the historic softball school she’s dreamt of playing at since she was kid. And even though it hasn’t always been easy, Dowling is enjoying every second of the ride.

“I’m super excited with my knee and just coming back,” Dowling said. “Last year was more of just getting back and playing and not necessarily being as good as I could be and so this summer I’m working really hard to get back and I’m excited to see where that’ll take me and just being a leader on the field with my team.”

Dowling suffered a season ending knee injury her freshman year, but she didn’t let it stop her from returning to the diamond and making her mark her sophomore year. Starting in 54 games at shortstop and being named Second Team All-SEC.

“It’s crazy to know that I played on it last season and did everything that I did,” Dowling said. “I’m just excited to actually feel it and get used to it again, and get it back to normal, and just get back out on the field and play like I know how.”

Bailey is coming back as an upperclassman and motivated to get back to the postseason after getting upset in the Regional by Stanford. But first, she’s enjoying time at home while giving back to her community through hitting lessons and working high school camps.