Harnett Central pitcher Ashley Ellis recently celebrated her college decision.
ANGIER — In front of teammates and coaches, both current and past, Ashley Ellis celebrated her college decision outside the Harnett Central softball field Monday.
The reliable pitcher is set to continue her student-athlete career at Louisburg College, turning down the likes of Barton and Methodist University.
"I would say just the atmosphere is really good. It's like more of a family type of environment rather than a big school," Ellis said of the northern N.C. campus that houses about 600 undergraduates.
"Growing up here (in Harnett County) everyone knows everyone. I don't want to switch that up any."
Ellis is one of just three seniors backing a loaded Lady Trojans (15-4) roster that came into the week still undefeated through 12 All American Conference games.
Central assistant coach Olivia Scarborough has had a front-row seat to the three-year varsity member's growth.
"It's been great to see her from like a little freshman who was scared to talk, to one of the main leaders on the team," Scarborough said.
"I've really seen her, especially the last two years – and even up until the last two or three weeks – really been able to locate her pitches a whole lot more than she ever has before."
Ellis came into Monday with a team-low 1.63 ERA to go with five wins. She also gave up just seven earned runs through 30 innings with 44 strikeouts.
As her prep eligibility winds down and she joins a storied LC program, that is currently riding a 33-game win streak, Ellis is still focused on the present.
"I'm definitely happy with how my career has been with Harnett Central and it's definitely something I'm gonna miss," she said.
"I, personally, have never gone to the playoffs while I was here. So that would be an accomplishment."
Central opens a two-game series against rival Triton at home Wednesday with both teams undefeated in league play.
Donnell Coley can be reached at email@example.com or 910-230-2040.