Radford's Carlson To Play For Pro Softball Team
ELGIN, Ill. Â Radford softball alum Ashley Carlson (Chesapeake, Va.) will continue her softball career after earning a roster spot with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch League. Carlson, a recent 2008 RU graduate, becomes the first Highlander softball player to play professionally. She makes her debut Thursday, May 29 when the Bandits open their season at the Rockford Thunder at 6:35 pm.
“I’d like to thank Bill Conroy, Mickey Dean and the rest of the Chicago Bandits for allowing me to continue my softball career,” stated Carlson. “I am really excited about the chance to play this summer. In the short time that I have been here, I can already see what a great bunch of ladies this team is made of.”
A four-year starter in the outfield for Radford, Carlson was selected to the squad after participating in an open tryout on May 25. Chicago wanted to increase its team speed and found the perfect fit when the team hosted its first ever open tryout at the Elgin Sports Complex. Of the 26 women that tried out hoping to earn a roster spot for the Bandits, Carlson impressed the coaches and owners the most with her quickness which helped her earn the final roster spot.
“Ashley brings speed and quickness to our squad,” said head coach Mickey Dean. “We went into the tryout looking for someone to fill that void and she was the fastest athlete from home to first and home to home.”
Carlson, a two-time All-Big South performer, was a key factor in the success of Radford softball over the past four years. The Highlanders are coming off a school record 46-15 season in 2008 and have won 169 games during her time roaming the outfield. Her speed and quick hands attributed to her breaking both the career hits and steals records at Radford, while landing in the top five in the Big South in both those categories.
“I would like to make a name for the program that I came from,” Carlson on representing Radford. “It is an honor to represent RU and I hope to do that both on and off the field.”
Carlson had a stellar four-year career at Radford. She played in 257 games, making 254 starts. She batted .313 with 255 hits, eight doubles, eight triples, 30 RBI and 139 runs scored. She also stole 98 bases, leading the Big South in that category the past three seasons.
“It speaks volumes of Ashley’s work ethic and how she has increased her skill level over the four years at Radford,” Dean on Carlson making the squad. “It’s amazing to be a professional right out of school. With the great attitude she displays on and off the field, Ashley will be a great representative for Radford and the Big South.”
In 2008, Carlson started all 61 games, batting .295 with 56 hits, a double, two triples and 30 runs scored. She also swiped a team and Big South best 27 bases. Carlson had a breakout season as a junior, setting RU’s single-season hits (92) and stolen bases (36) record. She also posted career highs, batting .377 with 50 runs scored, a .390 on base and .393 slugging percentages. Carlson also posted 13 and 14-game hitting streaks, while recording 26 multi-hit games, including eight three-hit contests.
Dean, who just completed his second year at the helm of Radford, begins his fourth season with Chicago. Under Dean, the Bandits won back-to-back regular season championships in 2005 and 2006 as he was named NPF Manager of the Year both seasons.
Chicago will play its home games on the campus of Judson University in Elgin, Ill.