Ashlynn Phillips signs with Vol State Pioneers

Goal is to stand out on the field and in the classroom


The White County Warriorettes’ softball team had another student-athlete, the third one for this year’s senior class, sign a National Letter of Intent to play at the collegiate level.

Ashlynn Phillips, who both pitches and plays third base for the Sparta team, signed her NLI to play for the Vol State Pioneers out of Gallatin for next season as she takes the next step in what has been a 14-year journey.

“The goal is to keep playing,” she said. To play two more years and see where this takes me.”

Phillips said her goal is to stand out on the field and in the classroom over the next two years, and she thinks she is being surrounded by the right people to help her make that happen.

“I am really happy that I have a great coaching staff at Vol State and great new teammates,” she said.

Getting to the position to control her future and to continue her softball career has been an experience for the whole family.

“This is unbelievable; it’s her dream come true. I am super proud,” Phillips’ mother, Kathy, said. “It took a lot of sacrifices to get here: financially, energy, time-consuming, injuries. But with the sacrifices came a lot of great opportunities.”

Both Kathy and Phillips’ father, Jeremy, said the journey that softball has taken them on has resulted in a lot of friendships and great experiences, along with the opportunity to learn from a variety of great coaches. They believe it is these experiences and relationships that has brought Ashlynn to the place in her career that she is now.

“We always said it wasn’t about a scholarship,” Jeremy said. “But we are excited for this next step and to see what Ashlynn does with it.”

For Ashlynn, the journey wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t always fun, but she says it is one she would take all over again if given the opportunity.

“I had to give up a lot to get here, and I really struggled with that through middle school and my first couple of years in high school,” Phillips said.

She said it was difficult having to always miss out on things that her other friends were doing.

“They got to do whatever they wanted on the weekend and have fun and have sleepovers,” Ashlynn said. “I couldn’t because I had to be up at 4 a.m. to go play softball. But going and playing in college – it really is all worth it, and I wouldn’t change it.”

Her father agreed there were a lot of sacrifices made in order to get Ashlynn to the signing table.

“She did miss out on a lot of kid stuff: going to the lake, going to the pool through the week, because we were driving back and forth to Mt. Juliet twice a week for hitting lessons. Pitching lessons in Murfreesboro,” Jeremy explained. “It was – now that I look back on it – kinda crazy.”

For a moment, Ashlynn herself thought it might be too much, and she came close to giving it all up.

“When COVID hit, it really hurt me as an individual. It was hard mentally,” she admitted. “I couldn’t practice. I had to work out at home. I wasn’t with my teammates.”

“She had a little spell when she was about 16, where we weren’t sure if that was the end,” her father admitted. “We broke up with a travel team we had been with for about three years when some drama started. Then COVID hit, and she about decided she didn’t want to play any more. She was burned out and done.”

But, for Ashlynn, who had been on a ball field since she was 4 years old moving from Little League to travel ball to high school ball, the knowledge here were still more opportunities out there for her pulled her back in.

“When [her teammates]started doing their stuff and signings,  she called me and said, ‘Dad I’ve messed up,’ and so here we are,” Jeremy said.

Jeremy has tried to balance the role of coach and dad for the past 14 years. When he got that call from his daughter, he went to work helping her find the place where she would be able to continue her career.

While Ashlynn is excited about the next two years, she knows she still has some unfinished business as a Warriorette.

“I definitely want my senior season to be the best season I have had,  hopefully both hit and pitch better than last year,” she said.

And, before she heads off to meet up with her new teammates, the ones she hopes become her lifelong friends, she had a little advice for the teammates that will still be wearing the maroon and gray when she is gone.

“If you are considering college ball, stay at it. You need a correct mindset. If you slip for a day and it becomes a week and then a month - and that’s time you need to prepare for the next level,” Ashlynn said.

She also added that no matter what the goals of the other girls she will share a field with for a couple more months, she will always be one of their biggest supporters.

“You aren’t losing us (seniors),” she said. “You will always have our support, and I know that you are going to go on and do great things.”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here