Ashlyn Masters will tell you she is not the best athlete, and that not all aspects of playing softball or schoolwork came naturally.
The Greenbrier High School senior said she has had to work for everything, including the national letter of intent she signed Nov. 17 to play softball for Florida State University.
"It takes a lot for me to be successful -- school and on the field," Masters said. "I put day-and-night effort into everything I do."
For Masters, that meant hitting after school at Riverside Elementary with her father, Charles Masters. It meant hitting nonstop on weekends, conditioning three times a week and playing four times a week.
Masters started playing travel ball for the Atlanta Vipers when she was in sixth grade. She and Greenbrier teammate Kaila Hunt traveled the country and played in front of college coaches every weekend. Masters' father said he had probably already paid for her scholarship with all that's been spent on travel.
"It was our lives," said Charles Masters, whose other daughter, Lauren, committed to play softball for N.C. State on Nov. 14. "I don't know what I'm going to do when they go. Follow them, I reckon, and watch."
Masters first visited Florida State as a sophomore and received an offer. The Seminoles changed coaching staffs, and she kept her options open. But when she visited again as a junior, she was sold.
"I knew in the back of my mind I was going to take it," she said. "I wanted to weigh things out and make sure it felt right. I went back with the new coaching staff, and I loved it even more."
Masters' commitment was honored after she tore the ligaments in her knee during a game June 6. She underwent surgery June 15 and missed playing her senior season for the Wolfpack.
Her recovery has included icing her leg daily and undergoing physical therapy two or three times each week. She recently was cleared for lateral movement, and she said her focus now is to strengthen the leg muscles.
A full recovery is targeted by March, and Masters said she has been contacted by several travel teams to play next summer. But with her future locked up, she doesn't want to push it.
"It all depends on how quick I heal," she said. "I'm not rushing anything."
Masters was an all-state selection in all three years she was able to play, starting with her freshman season. She said she wants to make an immediate contribution at second base for the Seminoles in her freshman year.
"I'm not making any promises," she said. "But my goal is to go in and earn that spot."
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