Charters’ 2011 campaign was more than just successful. She boasted third-best numbers for batting average and RBI league-wide in the regular season at .354 and twenty-six respectively. The second baseman also tied for sixth-most homeruns in the league, hitting five in the 2011 season (Charters shared sixth place with her Pride teammate, Charlotte Morgan).
Despite her success, Charters, a former member of the US National Softball Team, keeps her head level and her eye squarely on the ball.
“I had a lot of fun and the competition was just awesome,” says Charters. “Unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top, but it was an all-around positive experience. I thought that I did well, but there is always room for improvements.”
Charters doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to perfecting her game; the 26-year-old spent a majority of the offseason focusing on softball, training or conducting camps, clinics and lessons nationally in the Northwest , down the West Coast, and in Palm Springs; internationally in Canada and Germany.
“It was awesome,” says Charters. “We did a camp in Stuttgart, Germany at an Air Force Base. I went with Brandi Gordon, the assistant softball coach at Harvard, and Bailey Vertovez, a girl who used to play for Harvard. Everyone had a great time; there were a bunch of Americans and one German girl. The camp covered everything, from infield to outfield, catching to pitching. It went really well, the kids had fun and they were tired after every day. And we got to piggy-backed our time in Germany with vacation time in Italy and Berlin.”
Charters, a Beaverton, Oregon native, recognizes that she’s lucky to be both travelling the world and playing the game that she loves. But when the softball star isn’t training, coaching, or working in the USSSA Pride’s offices (she recently moved to Kissimmee and to help out on the team’s business end), Charters takes a step back and enjoys her break, even trying something new on occasion.
“When we went to Canada we went snowmobiling,” says Charters, smiling wide. “I had never been before. It was really fun! They go really, really fast. We got to go off jumps. Yeah, it was just really fun.”
A three-time college All-American, Charters was a part of the National Championship winning softball team at the University of Washington that included teammates Danielle Lawrie and Jenn Salling in 2009. Nikia Williams, one of the USSSA Pride’s 2012 NPF Draft selections and a current senior at the University of Washington, was also a member of this illustrious pack of Huskies in 2009. This puts Charters, who was in William’s shoes just a year ago, in a great position to give the rookie a bit of advice.
“Well, the biggest adjustment for me was the heat,” laughs Charters. “I guess I would just tell (Williams) to enjoy every moment and to have fun. Niki is a great teammate and a great player and I’m really excited to have her on the team and show her how we do things with the Pride.”
Charters is ready to kick off her sophomore professional season, determined to make this one even more memorable than the last.
“I definitely want a championship this year. But I’m really just excited to get back out there. It goes by so fast. You don’t even notice (the amount of games you’re playing).”
Maybe so, but softball fans are sure to notice what should be yet another consistent and powerful performance from Ashley Charters in 2012.
By Caitlin Schwartz
About USSSA Florida Pride:
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA News!