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CKS softball standout Ashlyn Allen adjusts to college ball

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By Sean Arnold

Of all the skills it takes to succeed at college softball, Ashlyn Allen is learning that patience is the one that might serve her best during her freshman campaign.

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Allen, a school record-holder in shot put and the first student to enjoy an athletics signing ceremony at Cedar Key School, is one of the most accomplished athletes to ever come out of Cedar Key.

The multi-talented pitcher and shortstop, who used travel ball to showcase her abilities for college scouts, is now among peers her equal at St. Petersburg College, and many of them have more experience. With a pitching staff loaded with sophomores at the junior college, Allen is biding her team to see more time in the circle, where she feels most at home on the diamond.

“It’s just a passion, I love pitching,” says Allen, who made her debut in the circle in a brief outing against CF in St. Petersburg. “I panic a little before the game, like, ‘You’re going to go in.’ But I calm myself, and when I get out there, I enjoy every second of it.”

Allen was so dominant against Cedar Key’s competition she was mostly kept at shortstop during the team’s short schedule.

Allen says her teammates have helped make her adjustment to college athletics a smooth one, both on and off the field, and travel ball helped prepare her for the schedule.

“These girls are making it easy to adjust, because they’re just so friendly and nice,” she says. “They just glue to you. It’s easy.”

Allen has also enjoyed reconnecting with former travel ball teammates as she makes her way around the state. She says the bonds formed through softball are irreplaceable, adding that “softball can give you something nothing else can.”

A 3-for-6 run in the fall season bolstered Allen’s confidence, but she says you’re only as good as your next adjustment.

“Batting goes up and down because the pitchers are difference,” she says. “Everything’s just an adjustment. So once that adjustment gets made, it’s just easy, it’s just fun.”

As far as batting, Allen says the biggest difference between college ball and travel ball is the adjustments by the pitchers and their improved location and spin action on the ball.

“If they throw a bad pitch, they fix it, and in travel ball they just keep throwing it,” she says.

Allen is part of a class from Cedar Key and Chiefland that saw six seniors last year earn scholarships for softball. Moreover, there are two more former Lady Indians from previous classes playing college ball.

CMHS won three state championships and finished state runner-up over the past four seasons. Fellow Cedar Key native and Chiefland graduate Sydney Parks is at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, where she is reunited with former CMHS teammates Lauren Stalvey and Lauren Parker.

On Feb. 15, Allen was in Ocala facing another former Lady Indian, freshman College of Central Florida shortstop Takiya London. London was 5 for 7 with a home run in the doubleheader sweep for the Lady Patriots, who improved to 16-2 on the year.

The Lady Titans, who were 10-10 entering their Feb. 22 doubleheader at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, begin their SunCoast Conference schedule March 6 at Florida Southwestern.