Orange Lutheran junior Ashley Adams came to the sport of softball by way of her father, a former minor league baseball player. His strong influence helped her develop a love for the game that is fueled by her drive to improve each time she takes the field.
“I love the competitiveness in the air and the grind of it, doing more and more,” says Adams. “Playing as a whole team, it’s really exciting.”
The COVID-19 pandemic came at an interesting time for Adams, as surgery in November 2019 kept her out of action while her sophomore season was cancelled. After six months of rehabilitation, she was cleared to play again in August 2020, approximately the same time her teammates were heading back to the softball diamond.
The road has been long and full of ups and downs, but the life lessons learned for Adams will no doubt help shape the next steps in her playing career.
“It was a really big learning opportunity for me,” says the 16-year old. “I’m always super hard-working…so that really tested me, and I know that by experience, I made it through.”
The strength and grace Adams has modeled in the face of these challenges have not gone unnoticed by her coaches and teammates.
“Ashley is the true definition of a team player,” says OLu softball head coach, Steve Miklos. “She had season-ending surgery last season but maintained a positive and encouraging attitude during her rehab. She has been a great role model for our younger players with her dedicated work ethic in the weight room and at practice. All her hard work to overcome her adversity has paid off, and we are looking forward to seeing her back on the field this season.”
Playing first base for OLu is a perfect fit for Adams, as the position keeps things fast-paced and full of high energy. Like many of her teammates, the three-year varsity player spends a significant amount of time with her travel club team, but she has found a unique and special connection with her fellow Lancers.
“I really like the atmosphere we have here,” says Adams. “We’re all super tight and close. It makes it easier for us to trust each other on the field as we’re playing games. We’re always here together every single day, so that is a big factor in how we play. I know that every game we give our all.”
Adams is currently focused on the college recruitment process and is hoping to continue playing alongside studying sports psychology or sports medicine. Her junior season with OLu is set to kick off this weekend, and her goals are to stay consistent and leave it all out on the field each game.
Adams has recently taken on the role of mentor to her seven-year old sister as she discovers her own love for softball. She is grateful for the support of her family, especially her grandmother, who was recently diagnosed with cancer but makes time as much as possible to watch Adams play in person. Her faith in the midst of a difficult year is a reminder of God’s presence in her life.
“I think my faith really teaches me to trust in myself and trust in God for what I’m able to do,” says Adams…”and be in the moment and put my skills on the field.”
Learn more about Ashley in this episode of "The Walk."