Inland Empire softball standout Ashley Carter made the ultimate New Years Resolution statement. According to her father John Carter, the 23-year old outfielder announced that her big goal for the coming year was to play in the National Pro Fastpitch league.
In February Carter signed a two year contract with the Pennsylvania Rebellion who are in their inaugural year in the NPF.
“This has always been a dream of mine to play professional softball,” said Carter. “I couldn’t stand not playing anymore, so to have this opportunity is surreal.”
As a four year varsity letterman at Bloomington High School, Carter achieved a .464 batting average, with 185 hits, and 63 runs batted in. In addition to making the San Bernardino Sun and Press Enterprise all-area softball teams, she made the all-Sunkist League team in her four years and was voted the Sunkist Most Valuable Player in her senior season. Carter went on to play at Cal State Fullerton. As a Junior she was selected to the All-Big West Conference First team as an outfielder and led the university in offensive categories such as hits, batting average, runs scored, and on-base percentage. As a senior Carter averaged .259 and led the Titans in hits with 44 and 13 RBI’s. She also led the team with 13 stolen bases in her final season.
Additional to her experience at the collegiate level, the 5’4 outfielder has played on the California A’s softball travel team. She was a starting outfielder on the 2012 squad that won the Women’s Elite Fastpitch Canadian Cup defeating national teams from Japan, Australia and Venezuela.
Despite her impressive resume, Carter went unselected in the 2013 NPF College Draft and was overlooked by the Akron Racers during a tryout earlier this year. She almost didn’t make the trip to the Rebellion’s open tryout in February due to the lack of money.
“I decided to give coach (Rick) Bertagnolli a call because I was interested,” she explained. “He called me back telling me they had information on me and I made the decision to travel to Pennsylvania.”
At the tryout Carter showcased her defensive skills in the outfield and displayed her hitting and baserunning skills to the coaching staff. The anticipation was nerve wracking according to Carter. “Coach B explained to everyone trying out that the longer it took to receive a phone call, the better. If you received a call right away, it wasn’t good news,” Carter said. “Later that day I received a phone call from coach and thought immediately that I wasn’t what they were looking for. It turned out they wanted to catch me before I flew out of Pennsylvania to negotiate a contract.”
Bertagnolli announced through the Rebellion website his delight in signing Carter. “Ashley is the type of player and a special young lady that we are looking for. She has speed, athleticism and a tremendous attitude,” he said. “The fact that she traveled from California for this tryout says a lot about her. She wants to win and contribute to the success of the team.”
Her father John believes her daughter has what it takes to compete among the best players in the world, attributing her diligent work ethic to her success.
“Something I always say to her is that dreams are unattainable, but goals aren’t,” he said. “I think she is phenomenal and she is standing out. She’s a hard working girl who works and stays in shape and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
As she reports to training in early May, Carter will be achieving her lifetime goal of stepping on the same field with many of her childhood idols.
“I watched players like Cat Osterman and Caitlin Lowe growing up and to be on the same field with them and other olympians is crazy,” she said. “It’s been my dream for so long.”