Lakeland pitcher excited about next level

Published 7:42 pm Saturday, May 9, 2009

Most high school softball players who continue their playing career into the college ranks have been standout starters on their high school squad for three or four years. That’s not the story with Lakeland senior Ashley Carroll, who signed an offer to play softball and attend Louisburg Junior College on Friday at Lakeland High.

Carroll, a pitcher and outfielder for the Lady Cavaliers, played junior varsity through her sophomore year and as a junior, Carroll was the understudy to senior pitcher Sarah Saunders, who this past season was a regular starting pitcher as a freshman for Mount Olive College.

Carroll actually started her recruitment by Louisburg herself, by e-mailing the coaching staff. A Louisburg coach was then at a summer tournament watching another player and noticed Carroll.

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“So I visited the school and decided that’s where I want to go. It’s a small school, which is what I need. I love the campus and I loved the teammates when I was at their practice.”

“Coach (Monica) Gordy reminds me a lot of Coach G’ (Mark Giarrizzo).”

Monica Gordy is Louisburg’s head coach, going into her second season at Louisburg. Gordy was on hand at Lakeland for Carroll’s signing Friday.

Coach Giarrizzo coaches the Southside Sting club, which Carroll has been a part of for seven years, since the 12U team. Giarrizzo was also at Lakeland on Friday.

At Lakeland, Carroll’s been with coach Steve Wood for four seasons; two JV seasons and her two varsity seasons.

“I think I’ve always played either with or against Erika,” said Carroll. Erika is Wood’s daughter and a first baseman on Lakeland’s team. “And we go to church together, so we’re very good friends.”

“I’m excited to go because I’m ready to play at the next level. This is something I’ve worked for a long time for,” said Carroll.

“I’m confident in my choice and I’m excited to go next year.”

Carroll hopes to be recruited by a larger, four-year school. From 2002-07, Louisburg J.C. had 29 softball players go on to NCAA Div. I or II schools.

Counting Carroll, Saunders and Lindsay Kelly, who is now a senior at Christopher Newport, three straight Lakeland pitchers will have gone on to play collegiate softball after their years with the Cavaliers.