It takes guts, determination and passion to achieve your goals. This year’s All-RRV Hitter of the Year possesses all of these traits in her quest to greatness on the softball diamond. North Lamar junior Ashlyn Reavis, who excelled at the plate, is fueled by her love for the game and her support system around her.
“I’m motivated by the fact that I just love softball — everything about softball gives me a high,” Ashlyn said. “Of course my family, my teammates and my coaches are there for me, and having that support is a really good thing to have. I remember my freshman year, I really looked up to Madison Morrison, and I remember telling her that year that I was going to lead the underclassmen the way she led me. My inner drive is fueled by my desire to be better than I was yesterday, and that is every day for me. I am always looking to improve, and I have a lot of love for the game. I just love softball, it gives me chills thinking about it.”
Being a great hitter is no easy task, especially considering the elite team North Lamar is along with the difficult opposition the team faces regularly. For Ashlyn, no matter who the opponent or circumstance, a short term memory and plenty of preparation are keys to success.
“I go out there and it’s a new at bat every time,” Ashlyn said. “You don’t think about your last at bat, instead you just think about what you need to do score your teammates, get on base and produce for the team. You just need to hop on the right pitch for you and take it. Coach (Ashley) Endsley also does a good job of making sure we stay disciplined and execute good situational hitting.”
“I’ve always wanted to hit for my team, but I really processed the situational side of things this year,” Ashlyn said. “My main focus was to help my team be successful.”
That mindset paid off in a big way for Ashlyn. She finished her junior year with a .459 batting average, 40 RBI, 54 runs and struck out just two times. If her bat can make contact, then a hit is likely coming.
“She is determined to hit any pitch no matter where it is really,” North Lamar head softball coach Ashley Endsley said. “She can hit it good if it’s inside or outside, and even in practice she’s not getting out of the cage until she gets it perfect. Her success at the plate shows how good of a hitter she is, and she only struck out twice all year.”
Ashlyn entered the North Lamar softball program as a dynamic, talented happy-go-lucky freshman. When she first took the field, she remembered one of her teammates and how big of a role model she was for her. Now as an upperclassmen, Ashlyn wants to be that leader for her younger teammates to look up to.
“When I was a freshman, I looked up to Madison Morrison — she played shortstop and I played second base,” Ashlyn said. “I just remember watching her play, how she handled herself and I just really looked up to the way she handled things. I want to be that type of person for younger players coming up that she was for me.”
Entering this year, Ashlyn was one of three upperclassmen. Instead of seeing that as a negative, Ashlyn took it as a positive and was eager to fulfill and excel in a leadership role.
“I know the situation I was coming into being the only junior on the team along with two seniors,” Ashlyn said. “I just took it upon myself, and it came natural for me to be a leader. It’s about your actions on the field, how you handle yourself and giving 110 percent in everything you do. I think it’s a big thing to lead by example for the younger players. I got a lot out of my experience learning from my team’s leaders my freshman year. I want to fill those shoes, so I just took it on and will continue to lead in the upcoming years.”
One example of a time Ashlyn showed leadership through her actions was when her team needed her the most. In a do-or-die situation in the regional semifinals against the Melissa Lady Cardinals, Ashlyn provided the spark her team needed, which eventually led to the Pantherettes advancing to the regional finals.
“In the second game against Melissa, they just hit a 3-run home run to take a 4-1 lead,” Ashlyn said. “We were down to our last three outs, I was the leadoff hitter and I knew I had to get on base. I knew we were going to win that game. The first pitch I saw was a curveball on the outside corner, and I took it to right field and got a triple on it. I know it fired up my team because hitting is contagious — you just get these chills in your body and you know the hits are going to come. Then, Karsyn (Iltis) came up and hit me in, and we just kept scoring. I just wanted to hit for my team, we got it going and we beat Melissa.”
Unfortunately for Ashlyn and the Pantherettes, the road ended in the next round against Anna. However, earlier in the year came a defining moment as the team found its identity, which got them all the way to the fifth round — a moment Ashlyn remembers well.
“Back in the San Marcos Tournament, I remember we had a team meeting and Coach (Kathy) Barker asked us if we were gritty,” Ashlyn said. “We knew we were gritty, but that meeting really drove us — Team 29 is selfless, gritty and we gave everything we had. Our coaches do a really good job of getting us prepared mentally, and we all played for each other. We will be gritty next year, and we’re coming.”
Ashlyn is not only a special talent on the field, but also a unique personality and athlete like no other in the eyes of her coach.
“Her energy, her want to and her will to do whatever it takes are some reasons why I love coaching Ashlyn,” Endsley said. “She’s a kid that is a once-in-a-lifetime kid to coach. There’s no one like her, which is nothing against anyone else, but she is just a great athlete and great softball player to have in our program.”
Team 29 was a successful group, and Ashlyn was a big part of the reason why. With that, Ashlyn is very eager to get back on the field and make even more memories with Team 30.
“I want to be back out there right now,” Ashlyn said. “I know it’s going to be a great season next year because we are always metally and physically prepared. I’m ready to get out there right now with my team next season, and have a good year with Team 30. We’re going to do great things. I’m ready to whoop some tail.”