All-around game clicking early for Central’s Bekah Ansbro

WOODSTOCK — Bekah Ansbro is known for her pitching, but last week she showed she can be just as strong at the plate as she is in the circle.

The Central junior had two home runs and five RBIs in a victory over William Monroe in only the second game of the season, and no one was more surprised than Ansbro.

“I didn’t hit very well the first game at all,” Ansbro said. “So I was just thinking about getting on base and moving runners for my team. But that ended better than I expected.”

Ansbro had a three-run homer in the first inning to give the Falcons a lift against a top Conference 28 rival. She said she didn’t realize it was over the fence until she rounded first base and assistant coach Mike Hunt told her.

The second home run for Ansbro, who had only hit one total in her first two seasons with Central, was a solo shot in the fifth inning.

“I heard everyone go quiet, and I was looking at coach Hunt the whole time and running as fast as I can,” Ansbro said of the second homer. “He said something and I couldn’t quite hear, because I happened to look over at the dugout and everyone started cheering and running out. The Monroe fans were not too happy. There was a big debate over fair or foul, but I didn’t see so I can’t contest for either side.”

In the circle, Ansbro was as solid as ever. She struck out 13 batters in a victory over Stonewall Jackson and again against William Monroe. Ansbro’s all-around performance helped earn her the Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for March 16-22.

Ansbro struck out 199 batters last season for the Falcons, and said getting to 200 is definitely a goal. She said she feels good about her pitching as the season starts.

“I made sure this offseason to really develop a couple of other pitches,” Ansbro said. “Last year I relied mainly on my rise ball. My changeup was in the trash, but it’s looking really good this year. I have a couple of other breaking pitches that I’m excited to bring out.”

Her pitches were certainly effective in Central’s first two games. Ansbro said her main focus was just to move the ball around and to hit her locations.

It should help Ansbro that Kylie Stottlemyer, a sophomore, will be doing the catching again this season. Ansbro said the pair worked together some in the offseason.

Central coach Lisa Rhodes said Ansbro and Stottlemyer work well together.

“They’re working on communicating more and more,” Rhodes said. “They’ve only spent one season together, so there’s a lot of room for learning more about each other and knowing what each other needs. They get along great. They’re always smiling. They’re always positive, and they always want the other to get better. They always have that goal for each other — so that’s great, too.”

Ansbro played fall ball for the Louisville Lady Sluggers, a travel team based out of Louisville, Kentucky. She said playing for them helped her get ready for the upcoming season.

It also helped her get noticed by colleges, and in January Ansbro verbally committed to play at George Mason University. She said figuring out where she’s going to play in college took a burden off her shoulders going into her junior season.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like for non-athletes who have to apply to 10, 15, 20 schools,” Ansbro said. “It feels so good to have that off my back and know that I’ve got a home in a few years.”

Now Ansbro can be totally focused on helping Central have another stellar season. Last year the Falcons won the Conference 28 title, before falling in regionals in 10 innings to eventual state semifinalist Brentsville.

Central lost five players from last year’s squad, but Ansbro said she feels good about this year’s team and what it can accomplish.

“I didn’t really know what to expect at first, because I think half the team is new to the varsity program,” Ansbro said. “But from what I’ve seen the new girls are doing extremely well, and I think we’ll be able to match what we did last year — if not go further.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com