Preble’s Wolfe ranked in top 100
By Greg Bates (Correspondent) and Rich Palzewic (Sports Editor)
GREEN BAY – For years, Ashley Wolfe has shown she’s one of the best softball players in the country in her age group.
A freshman at Green Bay Preble, Wolfe didn’t get the chance to show her skills this spring because the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She’s been playing on the club circuit nationally since she was 10 years old, representing the Midwest in USSSA All-American Games.
Under the direction of Greg Dickel, who owns and coaches Iowa Premier Fastpitch based in Des Moines, Iowa, Iowa Premier is one of the best club teams in the Midwest.
“We’re one of the top 20 club programs in the country,” Dickel said. “When Ashley plays with us, she plays her age because that level of softball is probably better than most of her high school competition in Wisconsin.”
Wolfe turned 15 on May 3.
“It’s made me better with the competition we’ve played,” Wolfe said. “My instructors, my dad and coach Greg have worked me hard. It also helps we have a great team.”
Wolfe started working with Dickel in early 2019 after one of his friends, who owned a softball scouting business, suggested she’d be a good fit with Iowa Premier.
“She has a great passion for the game, is instinctive, coachable, competitive, has improved her defense and has a good arm for her small stature,” Dickel said. “Lots of kids who play for us have the same skill sets, but her passion and her love to play the game set her apart from some of her teammates and opponents.”
Dickel also said he likes Wolfe’s patience at the plate and her ability to make contact with the ball.
“She works counts and usually doesn’t chase pitches out of the zone,” he said. “She’s got a lot to learn, but you can see things in evaluation that project towards a Division I skill set.”
Iowa Premier plays a rigorous game schedule, playing in tournaments eight straight weekends last fall.
“We went to Iowa Premier because we felt it was the best opportunity for exposure,” Wolfe said. “We went to California, Texas and Oklahoma.”
Wolfe is turning heads of college coaches even before playing her first high school game.
She’s currently ranked as the 98th best player overall and 58th as a middle infielder in the Class of 2023 in the country by Extra Innings Softball.
“I honestly don’t care about the nationwide ranking,” Wolfe said. “Recognition is a bonus, but I love the game. I get to go out there on my weekends and play.”
Wolfe said being a top-100 player in the U.S. pushes her to play well.
“You don’t want to lose that spot,” she said. “It also shows you where you’re at. You see all these other kids, and it makes you work harder. Your bad days have to be better than everyone else’s good day.”
Even in the seventh grade, Wolfe said she was already looking at colleges.
She’s had schools from all the top-five major conferences on her radar, but she only has one dream school.
“I would like to go to Minnesota, but I’m an open book,” said Wolfe, who plans to become a physical therapist. “I’m open to anything.”
Wolfe said she’s doing her best to stay in shape in the hopes summer ball goes forward.
“After my online schoolwork, I do my every-day routine – take grounders, life weights and hit into a net in the garage,” she said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t get to play this season – I think this would have been Preble’s year, and I was excited to join the team.”
Wolfe said the first thing she thought of when the season came crashing down was the seniors. “The seniors will never get to play high school softball again,” she said. “At least I have a few more years left.”
Editor’s note: To read about Preble head coach Ron Metzler and his recovery from COVID-19, CLICK HERE.