One of the most decorated players in Hatton softball history is no longer on the board as a recruit as Ashley Berryman signed her letter of intent to play for the Wallace State Lions Monday afternoon.
“This is a special day,” said Berryman. “I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a kid and to have put in the work to get here, it feels good.”
It was a special moment for head coach Denton Bowling as well. Berryman was a freshman when Bowling came in as coach so the two have been through a lot together.
“She was the first softball player I had any contact with when I first came here,” Bowling said. “Watching where she’s come not only as a softball player, but as a leader and an individual has been incredible as that’s evident but all the accolades and awards she’s received.”
Berryman was awarded the state MVP as freshman as she helped the Hornets win the class 2A state championship.
She set the bar high early and has met those standards since.
Berryman finished last season with a win loss record of 26-8 and an ERA of 1.19. She finished with 197 strikeouts.
She also had a strong season at the plate, batting a .410 average and finishing with 14 homeruns and 68 RBIs.
For her career she has 88 wins and is approaching 700 strikeouts.
Still, maybe the most impressive symbolance of how great a player she is came in last year’s state tournament. In two games vs. the eventual state champions G.W. Long, Berryman held the Rebels to just five runs.
That stat is highly impressive when you consider G.W. broke the national record for homeruns in a season.
“She’s the model for what it means to be a great pitcher. You don’t have to overpower people. It’s pitching, not throwing and she pitches for contact and to get people out,” Bowling said. “When you take a team like G.W. and hold them the way she did was incredible. She won the MVP as a freshman, but she pitched hurt. She was hurt her sophomore year after having offseason surgery, but she really came back last year with a vengeance and proved how dominant she really is.”
Before Berryman suits up as a Lion she will return one more time as a Hornet, looking for another blue map to add to her collection.
“We’re going to get back to the state tournament and our goal is to get that blue map again.”