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Senior pitcher overcomes injury, returns to mound

March 27, 2008

Senior softball starting pitcher Ashley Bertrand has earned several honors throughout her college career. She has also made an extraordinary comeback since being hit in the face by a line drive in 2007.

Bertrand’s injury caused nine fractures to her face. She was unsure whether or not she would play the game her senior year.  After a conversation with her father in which he told her the decision was hers to make, Bertrand had much to think about. 

Summer softball came and went, and Bertrand was still hesitant about returning to the game. She finally decided that she just couldn’t give it up, so she went back to the field in the fall 2007 season. 

“[Playing again] was really scary at first,” Bertrand said. “We usually practice batting in cages and now I just practice with a screen in front of me.”

Despite her hesitation, Bertrand had rebounded since her accident, doing very well this season.

“I’m 7-1 right now,” she said. “Last year at the end of the season I set the record for strikeouts. After eight games, I already have 88 strikeouts.”

In addition to her strikeout record, Bertrand has only given up one home run so far this season.

The Falcon softball team as a whole has been doing exceptionally well this season, with a current record of 13-1. Their one loss was to Mont Claire, whose team is nationally ranked.
Bertrand looks to the upcoming WIAC conference May 2-3.

“Considering all the talent on the team, I think we can do really well,” Bertrand said. “We’ve only lost one game and really care about the season.  If we continue working hard, I think we can do really well.”

In her college career, Bertrand was named an All-American in 2007 and an All-Regional player in 2006. She has also been named the WIAC Pitcher of the Week multiple times. She has received the Inspirational/Spirit Award from her team two years in a row.

In addition to her success as a softball player, Bertrand applies herself academically as an accounting major and math business minor. The softball team has a goal of maintaining a GPA of 3.25 or higher. The idea that the players are students first and athletes second is important to the team as a whole. Bertrand has made the Dean’s List twice.

Bertrand has always had a passion for pitching. She began playing at the age of 11 and began pitching at 12.

“We control the tempo of the game,” Bertrand said of the role of pitchers. “I can set the momentum of the game; if I’m pitching well, it will help the team to play well.”

The team will continue their season at the Augustana tournament March 29-30, against Augustana and Millikin.