Ellenbecker signs on with Central College

Ashlynn Ellenbecker recently signer a Letter of Intent to play softball at Central College. Also pictured are her parents Paul and Jackie Ellenbecker and STC head varsity coach Chelsea Ahrens. Allison Graham/New Chronicle

South Tama senior, Ashlynn Ellenbecker will be continuing her sports career next year in college.

Ellenbecker has signed a Letter of Intent to play softball at Central College in Pella, Iowa.

Ellenbecker has served as the starting pitcher for the South Tama softball program since her eighth grade year.

She was first approached by Central her junior year of high school. The Trojans were playing Grinnell and Ellenbecker received an email from assistant coach Alicia O’Brien.

“She was really interested even though we weren’t winning she pointed out how well I stood above other players and how well I knew the game,” Ellenbecker said.

After talks with her parents they decided to set up a visit. Ellenbecker immediately fell in love with the campus.

“It has just what I want for my major and minor. In fact Central is one of the better schools to get me into a medical program for what I want to do,” Ellenbecker said.

She also likes the fact that there will be plenty of opportunities for her to play because the Dutch have JV and Varsity programs.

The Central Dutch are led by head coach George Wares.

George Wares is the winningest softball coach in NCAA Division III history.

In 36 seasons as Central College head coach starting in 1985, Wares has compiled a 1158-395-3 record (.745), including a 96-62 postseason mark. He became the first Division III coach to record 1,000 wins on April 8, 2014 and has guided the Dutch to a record 30 NCAA Division III tournament berths, including the past three full seasons. In 2007, Wares was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Fame.

Ellenbecker got the opportunity to spend time with some of the team during a visit.

“The are pretty laid back and the team is really awesome,” Ellenbecker said.

Ellenbecker also described the coaching staff as very open. She is also looking forward to the resources such as additional coaching staff.