LAURINBURG — The hard work and dedication of Ashlyn Dial on the diamond this season was recognized at the conference level last week, as the Scotland third baseman was named to the All-Southeastern Conference softball team.
Dial said she was pleasantly surprised and excited to find out that she was selected as one of the best players in the conference this year.
With a fifth place finish in the conference, she knew there would be a limited number of selections for the Scotland team, so she wasn’t expecting to be picked out of several other teammates she thought were just as deserving.
“It is very exciting knowing that you are one of those who stood out in the conference,” Dial said.
The Lady Scots finished the season with a 8-12 record, good enough for a fifth place finish, and just good enough to reach the state playoffs, where they were taken down in the first round by one seed North Davidson 3-0. Despite the mixed season, Dial found a way to deliver one of the best seasons in her highschool career.
She finished the season with an impressive .466 batting average, 27 hits and just two strikeouts which was amongst the highest on the team, numbers that drew the eye of her coach as well as other coaches around the conference.
“She really did well this year,” said softball coach Patrick Williams. “Year to year she had a lot of growth, and this year she had a blow out year. She can do it all, and she can play all positions.”
Williams noted that Dial was also valuable as the team’s leader this season, and that her resource as a “student coach” allowed her to lead the team out on the field where he couldn’t go.
“I feel like [her leadership] has always been there,” Williams said. “I think leaders are born and she was born to lead. She is a team player and that what makes it even better for her.”
Dial attributes her success this season to working hard all offseason in preparation for her senior year, putting in extra hitting work, being pushed by her coaches, and supported by her teammates.
This season is the first time that Dial has been named to all-conference softball honors, but it isn’t her first SEC award. Dial also played basketball for Scotland where she collected All-Conference accolades three times during her four years.
In addition, she was recognized as the Civitas Media Scholar-Athlete for the month of December which is awarded to a student athlete each month in Scotland, Robeson, and Bladen County who excels in both academics and athletics.
Next year, Dial will continue her softball career next year at St. Andrews, where Williams said he knows she will continue to do well on the field and in the classroom.
“I expect great things. The reason why I expect great things is that the deameanor and attitude that she possesses will allow her to succeed. The only way she knows is full speed ahead.”
Reach Jack Frederick at 910-276-2311