BOONVILLE - While describing senior Ashley “Oz” Osborne, Starmount head softball coach Heather Courts pointed out a play from the Lady Rams’ regular-season finale victory over East Wilkes.
Against the Cardinals, Osborne came on in relief of starter Courtney Groce in the sixth with Starmount clinging to a 3-2 lead. East put two runners on in the frame and threatened to tie the game.
On a slow dribbler up the third-base line, Osborne pounced on the bunt and tagged out the runner breaking to home to get the third out of the inning. Courts says that kind of play is something you can’t teach.
“Oz is a ballplayer,” she explained. “She does things that you can’t coach, it’s just natural. She made that play against East Wilkes in the last game of the season where she picks up the bunt and tags out the runner - that would have been a run and we never would have been able to get the out at first and would have made the game tighter.
“She’s a ballplayer and a good kid,” Courts added.
Osborne will now take those natural abilities up the road to Surry Community College, where she will suit up for the Lady Knights next fall. The senior inked her official letter of intent to Surry at a ceremony at Starmount High School at the end of April.
“I emailed the coach about a month or two ago and set up a college day there [April 26] and she told that she would be here the following Monday to sign me, and it was just like that,” Osborne said, describing the process. “It’s close to home and I have played with some of the girls who are already there. From what I’ve heard, everybody likes it.
“I didn’t want to go far off to play anyway, so I kind of had my mind set on Surry since freshman year,” she added.
Heading into her senior season in Starmount orange and blue, Osborne wasn’t sure if she even wanted to continue her softball career. She said she decided recently to try and play at the next level.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to go and play softball for sure, but I really just decided here in the last few months that I really wanted to,” she explained. “When [the season] started coming to an end, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it to.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet [being a college player], but I think it will soon,” Osborne continued. “This actually signing part is kind of crazy. It is still going to be hard knowing it is my last game at Starmount, but it’ll be alright knowing that I’m going to Surry to play.”
At Surry, ‘Oz’ will be used primarily as a utility player and a pitcher, while teaming up with fellow senior Courtney Barnes, who inked early in the season.
While her senior campaign recently ended in the second round of the 2A state playoffs to West Stokes, Osborne said she couldn’t have asked for a better last year.
“Senior season has been really good,” she said. “I think the seniors have done a good job at leading the underclassmen because we have a young team. It’s been a really good experience. We all get along and play really well together.
“It’s been a great senior season, I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Osborne added. “I’m going to miss Starmount and Courts, Chubby [Cave] and [Kimberly] Swish[er] and all the girls.”
Courts says she is confident in sending her senior to the next level.
“I’m excited that she is going to go on to the next level, and I think she’ll do a good job for them. She’s done a good job for us,” she said. “Hopefully she goes to Surry and takes care of business for them.”
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.