Central softball standout Ansbro signs with GMU

Central High School senior Bekah Ansbro signs a national letter of intent to play softball at George Mason University during a ceremony on Wednesday morning in Woodstock. Ansbro is accompanied by her father Mike, left, and mother Margaret. Brad Fauber/Daily

WOODSTOCK – Bekah Ansbro made it official.

The Central High School senior, accompanied by her parents, coaches, teachers, school administrators and a large group of classmates, friends and teammates, signed a national letter of intent to play softball next year at George Mason University during a ceremony Wednesday morning.

Ansbro, Central’s first Division 1 softball commit, verbally committed to GMU back on Jan. 27 shortly after receiving a scholarship offer.

“It was nice being able to verbally to commit but now that’s its in ink I’m good, I’m ready to go,” Ansbro said shortly after the ceremony, which took place in Central’s gymnasium. “It’s like a weight lifted off my shoulders.”

Ansbro, a three-year varsity softball letter winner, has thrived in the pitching circle since joining Central’s varsity softball team as a freshman. In her junior season this past spring, Ansbro went 18-4 with a 0.53 ERA and 263 strikeouts in 146 innings pitched. The Virginia High School League book of records lists Ansbro’s 19-strikeout performance in a win over county rival Strasburg on May 8 as the ninth-best single-game performance of all time, while her 12.6 strikeouts per game average last season ranks fifth in VHSL history.

Ansbro said she anticipates GMU having four pitchers on its roster – including herself – when she arrives on campus next fall. The Patriots went 23-29 this past season and reached the four-team championship round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. George Mason ranked fifth in the A-10 in team ERA (3.79) and opponent batting average (.278) and fourth in total strikeouts (155) last season.

Three players combined to start all but one of the Patriots’ games last season, and only one of those players is listed on GMU’s 2015-16 roster.

“I think they’ll give me a couple chances in the fall to see how I do, but I really hope I can come in and make an impact,” said Ansbro, who added that she keeps in weekly contact with GMU coach Joe Verbanic and his staff and has already met her roommate, who will be a catcher for the Patriots.

Following a brief pre-signing congratulatory statement from Central softball coach Lisa Rhodes, Ansbro presented her parents each with a gift. To her mother, Margaret, Ansbro gave a tiara. Ansbro’s father, Mike, received the game ball from her first high school no-hitter, which Ansbro threw in her very first high school game against Stonewall Jackson more than three years ago.

“I won homecoming queen and she was probably more excited than I was, so I thought she needed her own tiara,” Ansbro said of her mother. “She’s the queen of taking me on long car trips for softball. The ball for my dad, he’s been there every day of every year since I started playing softball. That first game, it was my first high school game and my first no-hitter, and it meant a lot to me but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.”

Ansbro then proceeded to scribble a couple signatures on the letter of intent before turning to the crowd of fellow students seated on the bleachers behind her and declaring, “I’m officially a Patriot,” drawing applause and chants of her name.

“It’s been a goal she’s had,” Rhodes said, “and the really awesome thing is that I would venture to bet that it means almost as much to the team as it does to her, just because they value her and she values them so much. It means a lot to them, too.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com