When her big sister Kenzie pitched for the Arizona Wildcats in the 2010 Women's College World Series, Mattie Fowler drove with her family from Tucson to Oklahoma City.
"Now it's my sister's turn," Mattie said, "to sit back and enjoy the 21-hour car ride."
Kenzie's happy to.
The UA senior traveled to Eugene, Ore., last week to watch Mattie's Nebraska Cornhuskers defeat the Ducks to reach the WCWS. Kenzie sat in the stands, cheered for her sister and waved a Nebraska foam finger Mattie brought for her.
"I had so much fun," Kenzie said, "because I could let loose in the stands."
Today, she'll watch Nebraska open the WCWS against Washington.
"I went and watched UA play in Kenzie's freshman year. It's crazy that now I'm here and she's here to enjoy it," said Mattie, who, like her sister, is a Canyon del Oro High School graduate. "We're really each other's biggest fan."
Kenzie has talked to the sophomore about what to expect, from what clothes to pack to how to enjoy the experience.
"It's not something you assume is going to happen," Kenzie said. "All the stars have to align.
"She's still a young kid. She's a sophomore. She has a little more understanding of what it means to go.
"How many kids can say they've played a game at the World Series?"
After playing shortstop last season and tearing a knee ligament last summer, Mattie has played most of this season at first base. In 50 starts, she has hit .245 with four homers and 21 RBIs.
"Growing up watching it, I've been dreaming of being here since I was 5 years old," said Mattie, who, with teammate Sammi Noland, another CDO graduate, is one of two Southern Arizonans in the WCWS. "To fly into Oklahoma City and be one of eight teams left, we're going to make the most of the opportunity.
"This season has been an awesome journey. I wouldn't want to be here with any other girls."
As a high school senior, Mattie was the Star's Southern Arizona co-player of the year after going 14-0 with an 0.85 ERA and hit .569 with 17 homers.
She couldn't be happier with her college choice of Nebraska, which is playing in its seventh WCWS and first since 2002.
She has done as the locals do, attending every Cornhuskers home football game and even traveling to last year's Big Ten championship game.
She has family in Omaha - some of the 15 members who will be in attendance today.
"I love it at Nebraska," she said. "The community and the tradition at the school is awesome.
"The support we've had the past week has been awesome to see.
"I'm proud to be a Husker."
Today's WCWS games
• Nebraska vs. Washington: 9 a.m. on ESPN2
• Tennessee vs. Florida: 11:30 a.m. on ESPN
• Arizona St. vs. Texas: 4 p.m. on ESPN2
• MIchigan vs. Oklahoma: 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2
Contact reporter Patrick Finley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4658. On Twitter @PatrickFinley