By Anne Gabbianelli
We all have our doom and gloom stories from 2020, but for Ashley Haase of Newburgh the year was far from a strike out. She was inducted into the University of New England’s Hall of Fame for her athletic abilities. Just looking at her stats in the game of softball reveals what a remarkable athlete this woman is, yet she never expected to be honored in such a way.
“I was 100 percent shocked and surprised. My coach (Dan Letellier) called me to give me the news himself. Obviously, it was something I had hoped for but never in a million years did I think it would happen,” says the 2012 grad.
Haase’s love for sports goes back to when she was 6 and exposed to a variety of sports. Soccer involved too much running she recalls and then she struck on softball. Little did she ever think she’d be winning at the game throughout her high school and college career.
Reflecting on some 15 years with a bat or catcher’s mitt in hand, Haase says, “I think softball played a different role at different times in my life. It was definitely an outlet for me but it also challenged me and fed my competitive side. I started catching early on in my softball career because nobody else really wanted to do it, so in that aspect I grew into that position.”
Her Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) softball career may have ended eight years ago, yet this energetic gal’s stats are remarkable. As written in the Hall of Fame announcement:
Haase (Winterport, Maine), formerly Gott, graduated with a degree in applied exercise science in 2012. UNE’s starting catcher on the softball team from 2009-12 remains as the known career leader in hits, with 201 over 158 games (.393 batting average). She also has the top spot in total bases (263), shares it in doubles (41), ranks sixth for runs batted in (77), and stands 10th in runs scored (93). Defensively, Haase had a .974 fielding percentage in 781 plays. After all-conference honorable mention picks in her first couple seasons (2009, 2010), she registered numerous personal highs as a junior (.450 average, 68 hits, 39 runs, 29 RBI) and netted a CCC first team selection (2011). Haase repeated that recognition as a senior, and added the 2012 CCC Player of the Year to her list of accolades. Included in the 103-59-2 overall record (60-29-1 CCC) during those seasons was the team’s second conference softball championship crown in 2012. She batted .533 through that four-game run, which featured a program tournament record four hits in the semifinal triumph over the No. 1 seed. Haase capped her career with an All-Tournament Team nod as the Nor’easters continued into NCAA regional championship action.
Haase credits her coaches saying, “The coaches I had played a big part in my life. They did an excellent job giving us a solid foundation with good technique. They pushed when we needed to be pushed. I believe it really shaped the type of player I became.”
She contends her athleticism led her to her career as a physical therapist. Prior to the pandemic, she and her husband Brad were active in co-ed sports. He recalls when he first saw her play, “My first impressions were that she was a beast!! And that she could throw the ball faster and hit the ball harder than I ever could.”
He goes on, “Her hard work and determination have translated seamlessly from the field to the real world. She works two jobs and is a full-time mom to our son, Lucas. I am proud she is being inducted into the HOF, but mostly I am proud to call her my wife. She is an amazing woman.”
It goes without saying her parents are quite proud of their only child recalling all those years of travelling for games from their Winterport home. Her mom, DeAnna Gott says, “The proudest moment was when her UNE team won their conference in her last year of college, and she also was named conference player of the year at that time.” Her dad Joe, maintains his daughter becoming a mom is his proudest moment.
The celebration of Haase’s honor really has yet to begin, “UNE did a wonderful job trying to include the ceremony into the October alumni weekend but felt that it was still important to honor the inductees with a ceremony which has been postponed until that can happen in person.”
She hopes that will happen during alumni weekend in 2021.