During her time as a Sulphur Lady Bulldog, Savannah Ashford made a habit out of coming through in the clutch, and always staying true to her roots.
While she might be wearing a different jersey now at Murray State College in Tishomingo, not much else has changed for the former Lady Bulldogs standout.
Ashford recently completed her first season as a member of the Lady Aggies softball team, and said there were plenty of adjustments she had to make, but overall it was a blast.
“Honestly, my first year playing at Murray State was one of the best years of my life,” she said. “It was hard at first getting adjusted because I was away from my family, on my own and I had to make new friends. Once I got over all of that and got adjusted, I had a blast.”
“The biggest difference with college softball is how much we practice,” Ashford added. “In high school then you have two different seasons so you only practice during those specific times. With college, we play in the spring primarily, but we practice from the day we walk on campus until the season is over. I also had to get used to a different type of crowd in college softball because now it’s just mainly our parents and college friends, whereas in high school the whole community came out to support us.”
Speaking of blasts, Ashford helped skyrocket the Sulphur softball program to new heights during her time as a Lady Bulldogs player, especially during her senior year.
Sulphur managed to complete the calendar year double-threat of making the fast and slow pitch state tournaments for the first time in program history, while Ashford also had the distinction of being named as an All-State selection in fast and slow pitch as well, getting to play in both games at Oklahoma Christian University.
As a freshman at Murray State this season, Ashford finished with a .420 batting average to go with 36 RBI and six home runs for the season, along with 14 doubles.
Ashford was very quick to credit Sulphur head coach Heath Gilbert with giving her not just the guidance but the preparation she needed in order to be ready for the next level.
“Coach (Heath) Gilbert pushing me was one of the biggest things that prepared me for college softball,” she said. “He was always wanting me to reach my full potential no matter what, because he knew what I was capable of as a player. I’m so thankful now when I look back at all the times he yelled at me because it prepared me for this level of softball.”
Being a stranger to the Sulphur softball program is something Ashford definitely hasn’t been since graduating as she has attended multiple games throughout the season.
“Whenever I show up to games, the younger players are always excited to see me and that’s very special to me,” Ashford said. “Everyone in the town of Sulphur is family to me, and I’m so grateful I was raised in Sulphur. I’ll never be able to fully repay Coach (Heath) Gilbert, my teammates, the community of Sulphur and my family for everything they have given me and for pushing me to be my best.”
As for the future when it comes to softball, Ashford said that is up in the air right now after she leaves Murray State following her sophomore year. She is currently majoring in Pre-Med.
“I hope I get to move on after this year and continue my softball career somewhere else,” she said. “We’ll just have to see what happens.”