GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Ashley Wolfe is ranked 45th in the top 100 softball players nationwide for the class of 2023 by Extra Innings Softball.
Wolfe made a 52-spot jump from her 97th ranking last year without playing her freshman season at Preble High School due to coronavirus. She was forced to focus her efforts on her club team, Iowa Premier Fastpitch, which is one of the top 20 travel teams in the country.
Extra Innings Softball has been announcing 10 players per day to reveal their total 2023 Extra Elite 100 rankings. The official announcement will come Monday when the website announces players numbered 50-41.
"It's like that nervousness or not knowing if I'm going to be there or if I'm going be ranked," Wolfe said. "And then finding out, I was like, yes! Let's go!"
Here’s video of my 1st HS HR and a great dive on a short hop up the middle!! Getting pumped for opening day Tuesday!! @ron_rmetzler @preblesoftball @rachelhopmayer @IowaPremierFP @Los_Stuff @gbpressgazette pic.twitter.com/SXVHkrv35R— Ashley Wolfe (@Ashley_Wolfe4) April 26, 2021
Wolfe says the huge jump in recognition validated the hard work she's put into playing with various teams over the past year, sometimes made harder by the pandemic.
"Oh it's incredible. It's showing how much I've worked and how all these other girls being ranked have worked so hard," Wolfe said. "And it's just showing off. It's paying off for all of us."
Hornets head coach Ron Metzler has been starting Wolfe as the leadoff hitter.
"She's a weapon in a lot of ways offensively. You see this sized kid who says well I'm a power hitter – she is. She's a power hitter, a tremendous base runner, and very knowledgeable hitter," Metzler said. "That all-around player with the speed and the power and the knowledge."
Heading Arkansas in the morning/ first Iowa Premier Tourney of the 2021 season- got some good swings/bunts/ ball transfers of machine/breaking in a glove. Can’t wait to start the new season with my IPF family! @IowaPremierFP @Los_Stuff @HFLfastpitch @NCAAsoftball @thealliancefp pic.twitter.com/h0AenL8HqR— Ashley Wolfe (@Ashley_Wolfe4) March 19, 2021
Wolfe went 4 for 7 in Saturday's doubleheader against Bay Port where Preble won both games 9-1. The sophomore says she's refusing to let the ranking impact her laser-focused mentality.
"I'm playing the same. If it's working out, it will keep working," Wolfe said. "It's still a ranking. I'm proud to have number 45, but at the same time, I'm still playing my game."