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As Ashley Prange has become one of the top players on the Alabama softball team, she has seen her role continue to expand throughout her time with the Crimson Tide. The leadoff hitter for 4th ranked Tide, Prange has helped lead Alabama to another dominant year on the field. The 2018 Gatorade Softball Player of the Year in Indiana, Ashley Prange’s gifts have been on display for years. But as she takes the field, she says she hopes that her play is a reflection of something bigger than herself.

Photo Courtesy of Alabama Athletics
A native of New Palestine, Indiana, Ashley says that her faith has carried her throughout her life and softball career. As her faith became a foundation for her at a young age, it helped give her a glimpse into what matters most.

“I grew up in a Christian home going to church on Sundays, being involved in youth groups, and was blessed to have faith-rooted friends all throughout high school.”

Ashley says that after getting to college and being on her own, she had to learn to put God first in every circumstance to help guide her through the ups and downs.

“Faith was one thing that I knew could be a constant anchor throughout storms in life no matter the circumstances, and that truth has provided me a ton of comfort to this day.”

After initially beginning her career at Ohio State, Prange entered the transfer portal in 2021 with little idea of where she would end up. She says, however, that she asked God for His direction in leading her to where she needed to be.

“I asked God in prayer to lead me to a place where I was (1) accepted for who I was and valued as a person over athlete, (2) going to have a platform that I can use for something bigger than myself, and (3) to have the courage to say ‘yes’ to God’s direction.”

Photo Courtesy of Alabama Athletics
Ashley says that it was the love throughout the program that drew her into the opportunity to play with the Crimson Tide.

“Before entering the hitting facility the coaches stopped me and said, ‘we need you to know that if you decide to come here, we are going to love you just as much on the day you are 0 for 4 as we would on the day when you are 4 for 4’ and hearing the word ‘love’ in a situation that would also require an understanding of grace was all I needed to feel like this is where God wanted me.”

Now looking to help lead the Tide to an SEC Championship and towards the NCAA Tournament, Ashley says faith is what drives her every time she takes the field.

“Playing at Alabama has been proof that God is everything He says He is and His word will be the same tomorrow and forever. My faith gives me the strength and courage to believe that I am truly known and loved for more than my performance on the softball field.”

Ashley says that she also wants to use her platform to be a light for other athletes. Recently, the mental health of college athletes has come into focus as athletes throughout the NCAA have struggled due to the unrelenting pressures that accompany their careers. Ashley says she hopes to inspire change with every chance she gets.

“I also want my platform to bring light to mental health and embrace the idea that asking for help is not weakness. You are loved beyond measure and who you are is always more important than what you do. You are known, you are valued, and you are worthy.”

As Ashley prepares for what is to come with the postseason on the way, she says that the mindset of being loved regardless of performance is what drives her every day. No matter the outcome, Ashley wants to use her gifts to inspire and love others to know that there is so much more than just the game of softball.

 

Ethan Kruse

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