OSKALOOSA — This week’s featured softball player is Oskaloosa senior Ashley Nicole Kindley. Kindley is the daughter of Mike and Kelli Kindley.
Kindley is a versatile player who finds herself playing third base, as well as being behind home plate as a catcher.
Kindley was born in Ottumwa in 2001 but has lived in Oskaloosa her whole life.
Kindley is currently 17 years old and will be celebrating a birthday in June. Kindley has been apart of the Oskaloosa softball team since her 8th-grade year. She’s been involved in the sport of softball since she was 5, but wasn’t always eager to play at a younger age.
“My mom made me go out for T-ball when I wanted to play soccer, not softball,” Kindley said. “I threw an absolute fit too, I sat in our house and cried… my mom was so mad.”
Not only did Kindley have a rough start in the sport of softball, but she also experienced an unfortunate memory in middle school.
“I got hit in the head with a softball bat in middle school. My head is still indented from that incident, and all this happened on the third day of practice,” Kindley said.
As Kindley enters her fifth year on the team, she wasn’t shy to share some of her favorite memories.
“Winning state my freshman year was definitely one of the most memorable,” Kindley said. “Just making a lot of memories with the girls is another. We always have something new happen, in fact, we found a turtle in the parking lot this week and now he’s our new team pet.”
Hopefully, this new team pet can bring Oskaloosa some luck as they try to get back to the state tournament. The experience Kindley had in the past from the tournament could carry them a long way though.
“When we won state back when I was a freshman, I wasn’t really overwhelmed, but more excited. There was a lot of joy and adrenaline going through me.” Kindley said. “When they read off the all-tournament team when we won, I was shocked to hear my name called. I was only a freshman and didn’t play on defense… it really just caught me off guard.”
Kindley was more team-oriented when talking about upcoming goals for this season. She said the team wants to place first in the conference, win around 30 games (which is more than last year) and get Oskaloosa another state title.
“We all need to play as one to get back to state,” Kindley said. “We need to keep the negative attitudes and drama out and bring in positivity. Pick each other up when somebody is down. If somebody strikes out or makes a mistake you always have to pick them up so they don’t dwell on them.”
Kindley seemed unfazed by being a senior leader on this year’s team.
“As a senior, I’m going to encourage everyone to do their best and keep working hard,” Kindley said. “I want to be positive and be a role model. If my attitude would get bad then everyone else’s attitude would follow, so I have to make sure I keep a positive attitude. I have to lead by example.”
Kindley is very passionate about the team and her teammates and gave me an inside scope on the personalities this team has.
“Funniest people on the team would have to be Abby Braundmeier or Meghan Moorman. They always make everything hysterical and are cracking jokes,” Kindley said.
Kindley also focused on her past teammates, and when asked to pick one teammate she wished she could bring back to this year’s team, she was quick to say Alexis Vroegh.
“Alexis always had a positive attitude every single day of practice, and she was really encouraging and always there for you,” Kindley said. “Even if she was having a bad game she was always there for you. She always gave 110 percent.”
As for Kindley’s pregame rituals, she likes to listen to “No Hands” by Waka Flocka Flame. Before games, Kindley likes to enjoy a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich because it doesn’t upset her stomach.
Besides softball, Kindley has played tennis.
“Tennis was something new for me, I wanted to try something new that I enjoyed,” Kindley said. “I made a lot of new friends while being able to hang out with some of my old friends.”
Besides sports, Kindley loves to go shopping at Sephora. She also mentioned she loves to do her make-up in her free time. When Kindley is not shopping or doing make-up, you can find her either hanging out with friends, fishing with her uncle or going on a run.
Looking back on Kindley’s time at Oskaloosa High School, she said her favorite memories include hanging out with friends, going to all the basketball and football games, the rides to away games and becoming closer with her friend, Abbie Nunnikhoven. She also mentioned the excitement and joy she had her junior and senior year prom.
“The setups, getting all dressed up, having your hair done and being able to wear the dress you’ve been wanting to wear for months is exciting,” Kindley said.
Kindley said her favorite teacher from the high school was Karen Castillo.
“Mrs. Castillo is always there for you,” Kindley said. “Whenever you needed somebody to talk to she’s always there to listen and help put you in a better mood or make you smile.”
As for the future, Kindley will be attending Simpson College to play softball and double major in health and exercise science and Spanish. Kindley wants to someday be a physical therapist with an emphasis on pediatric physical therapy.
“I’ve been through physical therapy twice now, and what I’ve picked up from these experiences is that as a physical therapist, you will always make a difference in someone’s life,” Kindley said. “Whether it’s helping them return to health or helping them become independent again.”
Kindley had some mixed emotions as she prepares to begin her college experience.
“I’m excited to meet new friends and experience new things,” Kindley said. “One of these experiences is hopefully being able to study abroad. As for softball, we will be traveling internationally so that excites me. I’m scared of being lost in certain situations though. It’s a new environment.”
To end the interview, Kindley shared a scripture from Philippians 4:13 that is engraved into her softball glove, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”