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Stokes perfect for FSCC

Former Marengo Academy standout pitcher Ashley Stokes is enjoying early success at Faulkner State Community College.

“I like it a lot,” Stokes said nonchalantly. “It’s about like high school. It’s just on a different level.”

Stokes’ unflappable approach translated into a remarkable feat Monday when she set down all 21 Marion Military Institute batters she faced while pitching a perfect game.

“I didn’t even think it was a big deal,” Stokes said of the accomplishment. “I didn’t even realize it was a perfect game until after the game and they told me. I was just thinking about playing softball.”

“I was explaining to her how great a job she did, that very few people at any level do that,” Faulkner State head coach Paul Jones said. “I’ve coached for years and I’ve never seen it. I’ve never been part of a kid pitching (a perfect game).”

While everyone around her grasped the rarity of the gem she had just pitched, Stokes admitted she was oblivious. According to Stokes, she tossed the ball toward the MMI dugout after the game. It was not until a teammate explained the situation to her, the she sought to retrieve the ball.

“She loves playing,” Jones said. “You sit out there and watch her, she smiles and you can tell she loves playing.”

Thus far, Stokes has compiled a 5-1 record with two saves and a 1.64 ERA through eight appearances as a Sun Chief. She has also pitched six complete games.

“Ashley has brought great work ethic and has brought great character to the table,” Jones said. “At one time I was kind of concerned with her size and stuff. I thought it would take some times to build with weights. But she’s turned into my No. 1 pitcher.”

“We worked out and ran a lot during the offseason and I feel like that has helped me a lot,” Stokes said.

The former Lady Longhorn said she was initially concerned about being able to match up with the competition at the collegiate level.

“At first I was kind of worried about it. But then I remembered that playing travel ball during the summer, we played college level kids. We were 15 years old and playing people that were freshmen in college.”

Stokes admits she has grown comfortable with collegiate competition. Similarly, Jones concedes that he has the utmost confidence in his ace.

“I think she could continue on at a four-year school,” Jones said. “I think the sky is the limit for her.”

“I’m not really sure yet,” Stokes said of the possibility of seeking to play at a four-year school. “But I’m thinking that by the end of this season or the start of next I’ll know. But right now I want to go to school and play softball and not think about whether I am going to play four years or not.”