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Senior Ashley Anderson brings great energy to the North Branford softball squad and makes sure she’s there to support her fellow Thunderbirds. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Anderson )
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Ashley Anderson’s presence is always felt by her coaches and teammates on the North Branford softball squad. A senior outfielder, Ashley constantly goes above and beyond to put her team first and feels thankful to be a part of such a prestigious program.
“Winning three Shoreline championships and making states every year isn’t something every team can do. I’m really happy we can do that and be successful,” says Ashley. “We all have to work hard as a team. We work hard every day in practice, and that’s what leads us. We have such a strong bond as a team.”
Ashley prides herself on being a leader for the Thunderbirds. Even though she isn’t a captain, Ashley still wants to set a positive example for her peers.
“Since there are five seniors, we all take on the role, even if we don’t have the title. We all have the same role. We need to be good teammates and build up each other,” Ashley says. “You always have to support your teammates, cheer them up when they’re feeling down, and motivate them. That’s how we’ve been able to be so successful.”
Head Coach Nick DeLizio is impressed with Ashley’s ability to make everybody around her better, regardless of whether or not she’s on the field. DeLizio knows that’s a valuable asset to have on his team.
“The girls love her. Ashley goes in day-in and day-out, works hard, hustles, gives 100 percent, and sets a great example for everybody in the program,” says DeLizio. “All of her character traits—her integrity, accountability, and perseverance—are going to set her up to succeed in life.”
Ashley is a corner outfielder for the T-Birds. Ashley was new to the outfield when she came to North Branford, but she made a pretty smooth transition, and now she loves playing out there.
“When I played Little League, I would pitch a lot or played middle infield, but I started to play outfield more when I got to travel and then high school,” Ashley says. “In the infield, you act on instinct, while in the outfield, you have more time to adjust. Sometimes, fly balls aren’t the easiest to anticipate. Learning to take good routes to balls takes a lot of time to learn. You can save runs and make an impact.”
Ashley is enjoying the best stretch of her career at the plate this year. In 13 plate appearances, Ashley has five hits to go with three runs scored and four RBI.
“I just go up there and try to swing the hardest I can. Being smart at the plate is knowing what pitches you can hit,” says Ashley. “I always have a game-plan. You need an idea of where you’re going to hit the ball to score runs for your team.”
As she enters the final chapter of her high school career, Ashley wants to help North Branford continue its winning trend in the postseason. Ashley and the T-Birds are focused on claiming the program’s fifth-straight Shoreline Conference title and then making some noise in states.
“We’ve all worked hard as a team and haven’t gotten down, even though our record isn’t what is was in years past. We’re not giving up. We still have a lot of time to make our mark,” Ashley says. “I have faith in my team that we can pull through and win. I think we’re still going to be successful in the end.”
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