PCA’s Ashley signs to play at Blue Mountain

Published 8:15 pm Saturday, July 22, 2017

Even before they offered her a softball scholarship, Mallarie Ashley was enthralled with the idea of attending Blue Mountain College.

When that scholarship offer did come through, it was just the icing on the cake.

Ashley, who graduated from Porter’s Chapel Academy in May, signed last week to play at Blue Mountain. The small NAIA school located about 40 miles northwest of Tupelo offered the perfect combination of isolation, small classes, and Christian education that Ashley said she was looking for.

“They’re cool, but they’re strict, which is fine. I’m not a go-out type of person. I’m a home body,” Ashley said with a laugh. “There’s about 500 people there, so that’s good for me. I like to keep it small. Softball scholarship or not, I had my mind set on going to school there. So it’s a plus that I got the scholarship.”

Ashley played first base and catcher this season for Porter’s Chapel. She was selected to The Vicksburg Post’s All-County team after hitting .411 with five doubles and a team-high 27 RBIs.

She said it was her versatility in the field that caught the attention of Blue Mountain’s coaches, however. She is also able to play first base, third base and shortstop, had a .970 fielding percentage this season, and will be used as a utility player for her college team.

“I’m signed as a utility,” Ashley said. “At the tryout I went on the field at third base, shortstop, first and catcher. He said hitting is a plus for me.”

Blue Mountain actually has two softball teams, a varsity and junior varsity. The former plays against other NAIA schools in the region like William Carey in Hattiesburg and Tougaloo in Jackson. The latter plays mostly junior colleges, and is where Ashley is likely to start her college career. She said she’s just fine with that.

“It won’t be just a huge jump from high school to college. I’ll work my way up like if I was going to a juco,” she said.

While softball is important, Ashley stressed that she’ll be hitting the books just as hard as she’s hitting the ball.
Ashley plans to study ultrasound and X-Ray technology at Blue Mountain. She said being at a small school, in a small town, will help keep her focused.

“Somebody said, ‘What are you going to do for fun?’” she said. “I said I’m going to sit in my room and study! I want to go and get my degree and get out into the real world.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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