OTTUMWA – Ashton Brown is the first to admit her pitching style is somewhat unique.
Of course, it was during this past summer’s Ottumwa Classic that the opposing Centerville Redettes gave the mechanics of the OHS senior a description.
“They started signing “row, row, row your boat” because my motion is so funky,” Brown said. “It actually made me laugh. I thought it was hilarious.”
Brown had the last laugh that night, earning the 4-1 win by allowing just one hit over seven innings to the Redettes. On Thursday, Brown officially set her sails towards Oskaloosa signing to play college softball next season at William Penn University, the first of what could very be many college letters being signed by OHS softball seniors this school year.
“I’ve always kind of wanted this happen. The fact that it’s actually happening and it’s becoming real is a little overwhelming,” Brown said. “I’ve always been taught that, if you work hard, it will all pay off in the end. I guess this is my payoff.”
Brown will be one of two pitchers on the Ottumwa softball squad that will be playing college softball. Kacy Nickerson, who has earned all-state and all-conference honors for her work alongside Brown in the circle for the Bulldogs, has already verbally committed to Minnesota State University.
“I’m excited to see what we do as a team this summer,” Brown said. “Hopefully, we can make it back to state.”
Frank Huston, who brought a legendary 53-year career as a head softball coach to end leading Ottumwa to state for the 28th time, was on hand for Thursday’s signing. Brown credits the coaching of Huston for helping her pitch well enough to earn an opportunity to play college softball.
“Frank has really impacted my softball career. He changed my pitching motion last fall. It really helped my mechanics and my control,” Brown said. “It was all pretty hard to adjust to. I’m used to a specific motion. I’ve pitched that way my whole life.”
Brown was 14-4 in the pitching circle this past summer, recording 125 strikeouts over 103 2/3 innings with a 2.30 ERA. Over the past three seasons as a varsity pitcher, Brown is 26-8 pitching 200 1/3 innings with 233 strikeouts.
“She’s had two very good seasons for us as a sophomore and a junior pitching with Kacy,” Huston said. “They really compliment each other. Kacy throws hard. Ashton’s strength is movement and change of speed. That’s a pretty good one-two punch. Your not allowing the hitters to see the same things over and over again.”
William Penn head softball coach Mike Christner talked about biggest asset that Brown brings to the Statesmen.
“Ashton competes, which is something you love to see from every softball player you recruit,” Christner said. “She’s got a great attitude and, no matter what the situation is, she’ll be fighting until the end. She doesn’t let adversity get to her, which is perfect for pitching.”