By GREG WEBB
BROCK — With a good deal of preseason preparation behind her and the rest of the Lady Eagles’ squad, Brock senior Morgan Ashmore is ready to climb into the pitcher’s circle to start the season in earnest.
With a new field to enjoy as home for her final season at Brock, the right-handed pitcher/outfielder has at least one less thing to worry about as she readies to delve into the 2013 schedule.
Earlier this week, Ashmore and a library full of family and friends celebrated her decision to attend and extend her softball career next fall at Howard Payne University, located in Brownwood.
Ashmore is thankful she was able to fulfill a pair of her dreams for the future.
“I have played softball practically my whole life, and I just fell in love with the game,” Morgan said. “If there was any opportunity to further my education, as well as play softball, I was definitely going to take it.”
Weighing the requisite academic option first in her decision, Ashmore was equally happy both of her wishes were fulfilled at the Brownwood school.
“I did visit other colleges,” she said, “but HPU had everything I wanted.
“They have all of the academics I need, and the big plus, on top of that, was that I loved the softball coach and all the girls I met. It’s where I want to spend the next few years preparing for the future.”
Ashmore foresees her role with the Lady Yellow Jackets primarily residing inside the circle, but is not averse to expanding her contribution if the need presents itself.
“Pitching will be my main focus and function on the team,” she said, but I also play in the outfield, so there’s a chance I may be able to play there, as well. And that would be great.”
Morgan has already decided her future vocation will take her into the medical field, one that she has had a taste of already, performing volunteer work at nursing homes and assisting in therapeutic pursuits.
“I am going into HPU’s Athletic Training program,” she said, “and after those four years I plan to study two more years, in either occupational or physical therapy.”
The senior is family-first minded, and happy she found a home at HPU, which is only a couple hour’s drive from her Brock residence.
Having a taste of postseason prep ball at the highest level has left the pitcher/outfielder with a singular goal in softball.
“In my freshman year, we went to the state playoffs,” Morgan said. “And even though we were the runner-up that year, going to the playoffs and getting all the way to the state final was the best experience I have ever had.
Ashmore and her Lady Eagles will seek the goal under new leadership, as head softball coach Ryan Starnes takes over the Brock reins. Starnes will be assisted by Lynn Larson.
Ashmore is encouraged by her teams’ resolve to succeed, the new coaches’ leadership and — is just generally ready to get on with it.
“I would give nearly anything to get back to [the state tourney] in my senior year and I really hope our team can get there,” she said. “I think all my teammates are great and we’ve all been working very hard on our fundamentals and drills. “Coach Starnes has been a great influence. I am really anxious to get started with our upcoming season.”