Ashley Guillette is a senior pitcher for the Coastal Carolina University softball team on track to be one of the most accomplished players in the Sun Belt Conference this season. Her journey started years ago when she fell in love with the game of softball at 9 years old.
She started pitching in a little league in her hometown of Oxford, Conn., and knew right then that it was her position.
“My senior year [in high school] I was offered a scholarship to Coastal. I took a trip and immediately fell in love with the Myrtle Beach/Conway area,” Guillette said.
She appeared in 30 games as a freshman, starting 22 and throwing 10 complete games. She also threw a no-hitter in the Big South Tournament that year against Liberty.
CCU head softball coach Kelley Green admires Guillette’s level of maturity and discipline.
“Ashley has taken on a high level of responsibility, and the pitching position has so much impact on the game,” Green said. “Ashley’s overall level of consistency that she gives us every time she steps in the circle is so impressive. Every time she gets the ball, she gives us a chance to win, no matter who the opposing team is. She changes speeds so well. That’s what you look for in a pitcher – you want to know you’re in good hands every game.”
The players feel the same way when Guillette is on the mound.
“Ash is someone who never shies away from some good competition,” said senior infielder Alexis Alvino. “She is at her absolute best when she’s facing some of the top teams in the nation. She’s always up for a good challenge.”
Guillette loves having the ability to control the game. She set the program single-game strikeout record and had 15 strikeouts in one game as a sophomore against North Dakota after pitching a complete game with only three hits and one run.
One of Guillette’s strengths is her confidence.
“I’ve known Ashley for four years, we met freshman year,” said Alvino. “Her swag and confidence on the mound are what makes the defense and everyone around her feel comfortable and confident, as well. She has great stuff and makes hitters look silly with her off-speed pitches.
Her junior year, she started 29 games, earning 14 wins and 127 strikeouts. So far this year, she’s had a 10-strikeout game and is up to 92 strikeouts as of April 9.
Coach Kelley Green says she thinks Guillette can win Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year honors and would like to see her pitch in an NCAA regional.
“I think that would be a great individual accomplishment for the year, and I know she is capable of it. This is looking like her best year yet,” said Green.
Watching the players grow and mature throughout their college careers is one of the most special feelings for Green.
“To see Guillette become more disciplined and develop as a soon to be graduate, from the coaching side that’s why we coach, we coach to develop these athletes to grow and take on the world. Ashley is more than ready to do that.”
Guillette is ready to finish out her best year yet and continue on to the next chapter of her life after she graduates in August.
“If I could give any advice to a new upcoming college athlete, it would be to always work hard,” she said. “You can always maintain your social life, but know to staying with the books and sports is what is going to take you far to reach your ultimate goal.”
Guillette has appeared in 23 games this season and currently has an ERA of 3.80. She also has recorded 92 strikeouts, putting her at 544 career strikeouts – good enough for fourth on the all-time career strikeout list.