WARSAW – Ashley Ousley has had a productive and memorable summer season on the softball diamond.
The WCHS standout hopes to make a few more memories in the next week.
Ousley, who will be a senior this fall at WCHS, will take part in the ASA/USA 16U A Nationals in California. The 138-team event begins with Opening Ceremonies Sunday. Pool play games begin Monday with the double-elimination portion of the tourney starting Wednesday and concluding Aug. 4.
Ousley, who is slated to leave Saturday, is playing her first summer with the Indiana Shockwaves Gold-Rayman team, an elite travel team based out of Indianapolis. Ousley’s team is just one of two from the Hoosier State entered in the tourney.
“It blows my mind that we will be playing against some of the top players in the country,” said Ousley in a phone interview earlier this week. “It’s going to be hard, but this is something we’ve worked for as a team all summer.
“I just want to go out there and do my best. And our team just wants to play the best we can.”
Ousley, who did play with the Shockwaves last fall, is the only area player on the squad. The majority of the roster is made up of players closer to the Indianapolis area.
“I was looking for a different team after last summer and found this one and went to two tryouts,” said Ousley, who had played with Indiana Prospects and Indiana Thunder in the past. “I love it. It’s all worth it to be part of this team.”
Ousley had a fine spring season for her WCHS squad. She earned All-NLC honors as the center fielder and leadoff hitter for coach Jim Speicher’s team. Ousley has played mostly left field this summer for the Shockwaves, while batting leadoff the majority of the time.
“The hitting on this team is insane,” Ousley said of her squad. “It’s all totally different at this level. It’s like playing college ball.”
Ousley has relished the opportunity to play for coach Jeanne Rayman. Rayman was a two-time MVP while a player at Butler University and coached her alma mater in Indianapolis for four years from 2006-10.
“It’s just been unbelievable playing for coach Rayman,” said Ousley. “I’ve gained so much knowledge being on this team.”
Rayman has also been very impressed with Ousley.
“Ashley has been a great player for us and we would not be where we are without her,” said Rayman in a phone interview from California Friday night. “She just quietly goes about her business, but speaks loudly with what she does.
“She’s been one of our leading hitters and her skills in the outfield are superb. She’s patient, but does a good job attacking good pitches. She just has a calmness and a great demeanor. She has a good, solid foundation and her teammates look to her.
“She definitely has the ability to play Division I softball in college. Someone is going to end up with an amazing player, whose best days are still ahead of her. The only disappointment for me is that I only got to coach Ashley for one year.”
Ousley says she’s seen a dramatic improvement in her game and that hasn’t been lost on college coaches.
“I’m so much better now,” Ousley said. “It’s been a huge turnaround for me.
“I’ve even had some college offers this summer. Before, I never thought I would play Division I softball and now I can see it happening.”