By RICH PALZEWIC
GREEN BAY – The wait for Green Bay Preble softball player Ashley Wolfe is finally over.
After verbally committing to Division I Oregon State University (OSU) late last year, Wolfe made it official on Nov. 9, by signing her national letter of intent.
The senior shortstop garnered interest from dozens of Division I schools across the country.
Ashley, the daughter of Eric and Nicole Wolfe, was a first-team all-conference selection after her sophomore and junior years in the Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) at Preble.
“This day is everything to me,” she said. “It’s a celebration of everyone helping me get to this point. The recruiting process was a rollercoaster with many ups and downs, but once you find your place, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
In the last two seasons — 52 games — combined at Preble, Wolfe hit .544 at the plate, scored 88 runs and collected 86 hits — including four triples, 11 home runs and 25 doubles.
She also walked 27 times, had 52 RBIs and stole 34 bases.
In 158 career at-bats, Wolfe has struck out only nine times.
“Honestly, I wasn’t sure how interested colleges were until Sept. 1 of my junior year (2021),” Wolfe said. “Before that, you couldn’t talk to coaches, so I had no idea. I didn’t trust anything I heard until it happened.”
OSU plays in the Pacific-12 Conference with the likes of Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Utah and Washington.
“Oregon State is a good distance away — 31 hours to be exact,” she said. “When I set foot on the campus, I felt like it was home. Coach (Laura) Berg also played a big part in me going there. She has great knowledge of the game and can help me improve, both as a person and a player. I was told OSU had its eye on me when I was 14 years old playing (club) for Iowa Premier.”
Berg, who recently completed her 11th season at the helm, is a four-time Olympic medalist as a player, winning three golds and one silver as part of Team USA.
Wolfe said she’s the first Wisconsin commit to OSU in Berg’s tenure.
“Coach Berg told me that,” she said. “They’ve done basketball, baseball and other sports, but they mostly recruit from the West region. The other (2023) recruits are from Oregon, California and Arizona.”
Wolfe has some lofty goals at OSU.
“I want to improve my game, become an All-American or maybe be the freshman of the year,” she said. “My first goal is to make the traveling team. We’ll have about 26 girls on the roster, but only 22 travel.”
The only thing missing from Wolfe’s resume is a WIAA Division 1 state title.
In the last two seasons, the Hornets — who have won two consecutive FRCC titles — have gone a combined 50-7 but lost in sectionals each season.
“We’re younger this year, so I don’t think there’s as much pressure,” Wolfe said. “We have a couple of good pitchers and some new talent coming in.”
Wolfe, recently ranked the 37th best high school player in the nation from the class of 2023 by Extra Inning Softball, plans to study sports management/marketing with the hopes of coaching at the collegiate level someday.
“Ashley’s energy when she comes to any event reflects her effort and want in the game,” Preble assistant softball coach Payton Sampson said. “She has the ability to turn heads, and that’s good for fastpitch softball in the Green Bay area and the entire state. Oregon State is getting an energetic and determined player.”
By RICH PALZEWIC