Thanks goodness for the world of competitive summer softball.
That’s the strong sentiment for a growing number of high school standouts.
With the quality of play getting better all the time, and college coaches more likely to watch potential recruits in the summer after their seasons are over, AAU travel teams have become a godsend for numerous youngsters as they approach the next level.
Hampstead’s Ashlyn Bedard is the perfect example.
The recent Governor’s Academy graduate had a terrific career on the diamond, but it was one in virtual obscurity even though she was a three-time all-conference star in the Independent School League.
A corner infielder who also pitched on occasion, Bedard led the Govs to an ISL crown as a junior when she had 25 RBIs while hitting .458 with 17 of her 22 hits going for extra bases. And this year she hit a whopping .706.
“I think hitting is something that’s natural but it’s also something that you have to be working at consistently,” said Bedard. “We have a batting cage in our house and I’ve done a lot of soft toss with my father.”
All of the practice certainly paid of for Bedard at Governor’s, but she was often overlooked.
“I don’t think many people knew about me,’ said Bedard. “Coming from another state (New Hampshire) and playing in the ISL doesn’t make it very easy to be noticed.”
But Bedard, who has been playing softball since she was 5-years-old, has played for the Northeast Hurricanes for six years and the exposure has obviously helped.
She got interest from a number of colleges before settling on Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she will play for former Salem and UMass Amherst star Whitney (Mollica) Goldstein.
And Goldstein is certainly happy to have Bedard on board.