Swindle gets starting experience in first year

Curry grad wins two games in freshman year at Auburn

By W. BRIAN HALE, Eagle Sports Writer
Posted 6/10/17

Less than a year after winning her second-straight AHSAA state championship as a member of the Curry softball team, Ashlee Swindle was back in the circle as a starter once again — for the Auburn Tigers in SEC play.

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Swindle gets starting experience in first year

Curry grad wins two games in freshman year at Auburn

Posted

Less than a year after winning her second-straight AHSAA state championship as a member of the Curry softball team, Ashlee Swindle was back in the circle as a starter once again — for the Auburn Tigers in SEC play.

Following the suspension of starter Makayla Martin for off-the-field issues in April, Swindle was promoted and given the nod to start against Alabama State — an exciting moment in her young college career that left her both ecstatic, but extremely nervous.

“Finding out that I was going to start was a dream come true — all the hard work throughout the years had paid off and I just wanted to go and do my best,” Swindle said. “At the same time, it was extremely nerve-wracking and I was shaking until the game was over. But I knew it was an opportunity and an experience that would greatly help my career.”

Against Alabama State, she pitched four innings, giving up six hits, a run and a walk, while earning her first non-conference win in her debut.

Her second game, however, would be a much greater challenge — a conference battle with the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia.

Swindle not only caught the eye of her coaches and teammates in her first conference start against South Carolina, but the SEC as a whole — with news of her performance making SEC Network highlight reels.

Against the Gamecocks, she pitched 5.1 innings surrendering just two hits in 20 batters faced with two strikeouts, earning a shutout in her first appearance as an Auburn starter.

“When I was in the circle, I constantly told myself to keep my focus on the game, as every batter is just as good as the one before. You have to really be on your A-game to get batters out,” Swindle said. “I just told myself to hit my spots, stay low in the zone and trust my defense throughout the whole game. Each time I went back to the dugout after an inning, I would remind myself that each one completed was one step closer to getting my job done as my team’s pitcher. It was an outstanding experience — my coaches were proud of me as well as my teammates.”

Following a loss to Alabama, Swindle finished the season with a 2-1 record as a starter, giving up just four runs during the three-game period.

On the season, she posted a 3.29 ERA with 34 innings pitched with 12 strikeouts and 15 game appearances.

“Looking back at both my appearances and my time as a starter, I feel that has really benefited my career and in my future,” Swindle said. “When I can look back and remember my past successes and failures, I can use it as a guide to get better.”