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Carlson Steals Bandits Final Roster Spot

by Adam Musto
The Chicago Bandits wanted to increase its team speed and found the perfect fit when the team hosted its first ever open tryout on Sunday, May 25, at the Elgin Sports Complex. Of the 26 women that tried out hoping to earn a roster spot for the Bandits, Ashley Carlson impressed the coaches and owners the most with her quickness and made the cut.

Carlson graduated from Radford University (Virginia) in May and helped the Highlanders go 46-15 in 2008. In Carlson's four years, Radford compiled 169 victories and she became the school's all-time leader in hits and stolen bases.

As a senior, the Chesapeake, Virginia native started all 61 games for the Highlanders and hit .295 with 30 runs. In her junior season, Carlson batted .377 with 50 runs. Carlson started 132 games in her final two seasons with the Highlanders, a model of stamina and durability, as she played every game during the two seasons. 

"Every girl that plays softball wishes to get to this level," Carlson said. "Hopefully I can bring speed to the team, as a role player or as a pinch hitter."

Just an hour into the tryouts, a lightning delay paused the event for 40 minutes. For the first half, the girls practiced positional drills before a scrimmaging. The players came from all over, ranging from nearby Judson University and Robert Morris College to as far south as Mississippi State. 

"It's a dream, all my hard work has paid off and I want to make a name for myself and my family," Carlson said. "I don't think people realize how competitive it is just to get picked."