From wanting to quit to the heart of a Lion


Prior to transferring to Southern, Lutz had never heard of Southern. Two years later, she says she’s glad Southern came calling and invited her to a tryout. Her family got to see her pitch for the first time on Senior day this season. A moment she says is one her proudest moments as a Lion. But her proudest moment was shutting out Pitt State on Mar. 5, 2016 on Lea Kungle field. 

Until ending up at Missouri Southern in the 2014-2015 season, Ashley Lutz wanted to quit softball each and every year she’s played. It all started in the basement with her stepdad. Five days a week, 11-year old Ashley Lutz was in her basement practicing pitching with her stepdad.

Lutz and her stepdad would get into tons of arguments. She can’t recall how many times she’s slammed her glove on the ground, ran upstairs, and told her mom that she wanted to quit softball.

“Pitching is not fun to practice,” Lutz said as she remembered those tense hours in the basement. “Not when you’re younger at least. Trying to figure out the mechanics and everything about it was funky.”

But her mom wouldn’t allow her to quit. 

Because of the tense moments between Lutz and her stepdad, Lutz’s mom stepped in and tried to play the role of catcher once. Mind you, Lutz said she got her athleticism from her dad. What could possibly go wrong?

With her mom in squatting position and awaiting the pitch, Lutz winded up and delivered a strike that missed her mother’s glove and struck her right in her chest. 

From that day on, her stepdad would always remain her catcher.

The last time Lutz wanted to quit softball was after her sophomore year at St. Charles Community College. St. Charles CC was Lutz second school after transferring from Central Methodist. She wanted to be closer to home and just wanted to focus on school. The grind of softball was taking its toll. 

“I was thinking that this wasn’t the journey I’m supposed to be taking. I just wanted to get my school in,” said Lutz. 

That’s when an unexpected call came in from former Team USA player and Southern assistant coach Nicole Hudson. Hudson, who coached Southern for just one season (2014) called Lutz and invited her to a tryout. Never hearing of Missouri Southern prior to that phone call, Lutz feared that the nearly five hour drive from St. Louis to Joplin would be a waste of her time.

“It was a four and a half hour drive here and me and my stepdad thought that was awful. I asked myself, what if we get here and they don’t like us? But we couldn’t be happier about the way it turned out,” Lutz said.

With just four games remaining in her softball career, Lutz never would have thought that those basement training days would lead her here. She’s glad she ended up here as she’s had some of her proudest softball moments as a Lion.

“I know right off the top of my head [my proudest moment]. Beating Pitt State! I shut them out for a whole seven innings and they didn’t score,” Lutz said.

Lutz is currently 13-14 with 2.93 ERA and 137 strikeouts. As the ace of the staff, Lutz isn’t shying away from the moments that lie ahead as she could lead her team to their first MIAA conference tournament birth since 2011.

“I’m not the type of person who likes to be the center of attention, but all eyes will be on me. I do better under pressure,” Lutz said calmly with a smile on her face about taking the mound with a postseason berth on the line.

After college, Lutz plans on going back home to St. Louis and becoming a high school English teacher. When asked why high school students over grade school (K-8), Lutz said, “I think its patience. I think it’s because I have little sisters and I don’t think I can do that. I can’t teach little kids,” said Lutz with a huge grin on her face.