Anyone who follows high school softball in the past few years knows the name Ashley Daugherty (THS Class of 2019). Ashley led THS to a CIF Championship last year and was an inspiration on and off the field. Ashley is now a freshmen at Texas A & M and the Aggies have their season opener this Friday vs. UT Arlington. News from the Nest recently connected with Ashley to find out her time at A & M.
News From the Nest: Tell us a little about your role on the Texas A & M softball team? (position and how much you expect to be playing this year.
Ashley: I am currently one of the seven pitchers we have on this year’s staff. When it comes to play time, I’m not one to expect anything. I personally believe that no matter the amount of innings pitched, it’s still a blessing to be a part of this team. I know I will get my opportunities, it all just depends on what I do with them that will dictate the rest of my freshman season.
NFTN: Share with us an experience that you have had at Texas A & M that gives a little look behind the scenes of what it is like to play for Texas?
A: Earlier in the fall, we had a navy seal join our program to help us become something great. He ran us through a two day boot camp, about 6 hours a day, that not only pushed our physical abilities, but tested us mentally as well. It was a lot of team-bonding and a lot of strain on the mental part of the game. I personally believe that this experience was a necessary first step for us reaching our number one goal this season: to be the toughest team in the SEC.
NFTN: Going from softball at Templeton to for a NCAA Division 1 program has had to be a big adjustment. Tell us what that was like.
A: It has definitely been a big change, and the game goes at a much faster pace. Each and every one of my teammates is here for a reason. They’re here because they’ve worked their whole life to get to this point, to the highest level. Although the game is still a lot of fun, that’s not the only reason anymore. Which I feel in high school is a big reason for girls to play. Despite the dramatic differences, the game is still the same. It’s still a game of catch and throw, just on a much bigger stage, at a much higher level.
NFTN: As the season is quickly approaching describe for us what a normal day for you is like? (Academic workload, studying, practices/workout time etc.)
A: The fall and the spring have been almost like two freshman years combined into one. In the fall, we lift four days a week around 6am. After lifts I would head straight over to the athlete-academic building to grab some breakfast and sit in study hall for about 2 hours. Typically after study hall I would grab some lunch then head to class until roughly 1:30. Straight from class I’d head over to the field for individuals. Individuals for me include bullpens and offensive cage work.
However the spring has already been much different. We lift 2 days a week, and have team practice everyday for about 3 hours. Since most of our pitchers hit, we throw bullpens before practice for about an hour, and work a couple days a week individually with our hitting coach about an hour before practice. I’m currently taking a full 16 hours for the spring, so my class/study schedule is pretty jam-packed. With meetings, team meals, treatment/rehab on top of all of that, you could say the life of a student-athlete is pretty busy. But not to get confused, I’m loving every second of it.
NFTN: What are some goals you have set for yourself for the upcoming season?
A: Something I’ve really been working on is my mental aspect of the game. I want to continue learning tendencies of certain batters, find their weaknesses, and defeat them. Confidence has always played a huge role in my success as a pitcher. I think once I reach my full potential of confidence it’ll make reaching my physical goals much easier. To not overload my brain, I made it a goal to get 1% better everyday. Whether that’s taking 5 extra reps off the machine, or throwing 10 extra quality pitches after my bullpen, I want to just keep going that extra mile for something I know will pay off in the long-run.
NFTN: Outside of softball and athletics what have been the biggest life changes you have had to make and what have you learned about yourself?
A: When I stepped on campus in the fall, I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that I would stay 100% true to who I am at all cost, be genuine and kind in everything I did, and to never take a rep for granted. I have learned that when I am comfortable, I am goofy. I laugh at pretty much everything, and always try to do the same for other people. I tend to be very light-hearted and very much caring of other people’s emotions. Being here has had a huge impact on recognizing who I am when nobody’s watching. It’s taught me to accept myself for everything I am and everything I have yet to become.
NFTN: What is something you have experienced that you didn’t expect?
A: After my last at bat in the CIF Championship game my senior year, I really thought the offensive part of the game for me was over. I had accepted the fact that I was recruited to Texas A&M to pitch, and I was going to be the best pitcher I could possibly be. However when I met our new hitting coach, Craig Snider, my whole outlook changed. I instantly bought into his methods as a hitting coach, and I wanted to be a part of it. I decided that after I graduate in 2023, I didn’t want to look back and regret not even giving it a shot. So that’s exactly what I’m doing, I’m putting forth my best effort to become the best version of myself as a hitter that I can possibly be. Whether that leads to a spot in the lineup or not, at least I’ll have enjoyed the ride along the way. Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love to hit?
NFTN: What advice would you give to high school athletes?
A: Some of the best advice I can give is to never take a rep for granted, make every moment mean something in your career as an athlete. Whether you plan to take your athletic abilities to a higher level or not, you’re only an athlete for so long. There are only so many more years you can lace up your cleats before a big game, only so many more opportunities to take an extra ground ball or an extra swing off the tee, and only so many more times you can call yourself an athlete. Work hard, respect the game, and make every second count.
Ashley you have been and continue to be an inspiration to so many through softball and through your years with Link Crew. THS Sophomore Alex Dahlen, who was on last year’s championship team with Ashley, said, “I was a freshman on the varsity softball team while Ashley was a senior. I am so grateful for Ashley and everything she did for me last year. I quickly identified her as the “mom” on the softball team. I am so glad that she is succeeding at A&M, and even though she is all the way in Texas, she will always be my “mom”.
Good luck this season Ashley, we will be watching and cheering you on!