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Player of the Week: Ashley Polk

Two years ago Ashley Polk was a defensive specialist. As a sophomore, her defensive play at first base was pristine. But her bat left much to be desired. So the left-hander got few opportunities to contributed in that phase of the game.

While her plate appearances increased a little her junior year, she was still usually giving way to a designated hitter.

Then came the offseason before her senior year, a time in which she apparently decided that she would handle her own offensive duties. So Polk went to work. And the fruits of that labor have never shown themselves more ripe than last week’s area tournament, a four-game stretch in which Polk played the best all-around softball of her varsity career.

“As far as the full package, yeah it was the best she’s looked,” Demopolis head coach Joey Browder said. “Ashley has become a really great softball player. She’s worked extremely hard and she’s improved leaps and bounds. She’s got a never-say-quit attitude and I can’t say enough good things about Ashley Polk.”

As much as she has improved offensively, it the intangibles Polk has displayed that have made her more valuable to her team than ever. Over the course of the season, the unassuming senior has stretched her boundaries and gotten outside of her comfort zone enough to become more vocal in her leadership role.

“She’s a leader on the field,” Browder said. “Nobody on the team outworks her.”

Still, the greatest compliment that Browder can pay Polk is that after the team’s 2010 season ends, he will have to worry about first base for the first time in four years.

“She’s been a defensive mainstay at first base for us for the past four years,” Browder said.