EagleHerald/Brian Bell
Ashly Powell of Menominee signs a national letter of intent to play softball at Bay College in Escanaba on Thursday at Menominee High School. Joining her is her mom Brandy Powell (front left), coach Hannah Bell (front right), coach Jim Berger (back left) and dad Jeff Powell (back right).
EagleHerald/Brian Bell

Ashly Powell of Menominee signs a national letter of intent to play softball at Bay College in Escanaba on Thursday at Menominee High School. Joining her is her mom Brandy Powell (front left), coach Hannah Bell (front right), coach Jim Berger (back left) and dad Jeff Powell (back right).

MENOMINEE — Another dream came true Thursday in the Menominee High School library when Ashly Powell signed a national letter of intent to play softball for the Bay College Norse in Escanaba, Mich. this coming fall.

Powell, a centerfielder, is the first Maroon to sign to a college from the softball program since it was formed four years ago and she is thrilled to have to opportunity in front of her.

“It feels really great. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to play after high school and it just feels really good knowing I get to,” she said. “I’ve been playing softball ever since I was eight and probably younger than that, and now being 17 turning 18 soon and I still get to continue playing is a dream come true.”

Bay held a softball camp that Powell unfortunately could not attend to show what she was capable of, but Norse coach Heidi Charon got in contact with Powell’s coaches and eventually her mom and they kept in touch through text message and e-mail until she was invited to the campus for a visit.

“When I went for the visit (coach Charon) walked me around and talked with me about the program a little,” Powell said. “I was already pretty set on going there because it was nice to have someone that wanted me to come to their school and that got me even more excited. I pretty much had my mind made up already before I went up there and then after I knew for sure.”

Bell had nothing but good things to say about Powell, calling her the backbone of the outfield and someone the Maroons always can depend on in high-pressure situations.

“I’ve been with (Ashly) since before we started the softball program and I knew from the start she had the potential to play at the next level,” Bell said. “Her athletic ability allows her to cover a lot of green in the outfield. She has been, and will continue to be a threat to our opponents.”

At the plate she’s no slouch either, with a couple home runs and big time hits to her name.

“She has a very solid bat and her and coach Berger have put a lot of time into perfecting her timing at the plate,” Bell explained. “She is picky, but smart at the plate and knows how to attack it aggressively and has the power and speed to back it up. Once she gets on base there’s no stopping her.”

As a leader, Powell has matured immensely since she was a freshman and now, entering her senior year, is determined to push through and show that she has what it takes to be someone that Menominee can lean on in a tough spot.

“I’m going to play my heart out and hard as I can every game this year and maybe hit a few homers here and there,” Powell said with a laugh. “But my biggest goal is to be a leader to everyone and show that if you’re determined and put in the work anything is possible.”

Powell is joining a Norse squad that went 28-9 overall and 6-0 in the conference last season and both she and her coaches are looking forward to seeing what she can bring to the table to an already stacked lineup.

“Bay has a great program under coach Charon, and I think Ashly is in a perfect spot athletically to excel and we are extremely excited to see all that she has to offer Bay,” Bell said.

“I probably don’t have this opportunity without coach Bell and coach Berger because they pushed to get a softball team at this school and the first year we started was when I was a freshman, so I’ve had four years to get this chance,” Powell said. “Just knowing that I get to continue to play is because of them, and I can’t wait to get to campus and do everything I can do to make them and everyone else proud.”