Toledo - Sophomore pitcher Ashlyn Michalak has signed a letter of intent to play for Valparaiso University next season.
Michalak was the top pitcher for the Express this past year. She was 17-4 with a 1.56 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 147.2 innings pitched. She was named First Team All-Ohio Community College Athletic Conference, OCCAC Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-Region XII, and All-Region XII Tournament Team.
In her first game against Olney Central College this past season, Michalak struck out 19 batters - a school record - in the team's 5-2 win. She finished with eight double digit strikeout games, and allowed more than two earned runs only twice during her sophomore campaign. She threw a no-hitter against Lakeland Community College on April 21 to help the team clinch the OCCAC title.
In Michalak's first collegiate game, she threw a perfect game and finished her freshmen year 11-1 with 77 strikeouts in 59 innings. She earned the complete game win against No. 2 Kankakee to help send the Express to the national title game that year.
Michalak finished 28-5 with 279 strikeouts in her two-year career. The signing took place following the team's recent postseason banquet.
Michalak was part of the most decorated sophomore class in Express softball history. The 2012 sophomore class went 85-12 (44-5 in 2011 and 41-7 in 2012). The back-to-back 40 plus win seasons was a program first. Additionally, the Express won two OCCAC titles, one Region XII District G championship, and were the NJCAA D-II National Runner-Up in 2011. That was the highest finish of any women's sports team in Owens history.
She becomes the second NCAA D-I player the Express softball program has produced in the past two seasons after Kristen Roznoski continued her playing career at the University of Toledo this past season.
Michalak came to Owens after a decorated career at Springfield HS, where she helped lead her team to a Northern Lakes League title her sophomore and junior year, a district championship her sophomore and senior year, and a regional championship her senior year under coach Rob Gwozdz.
Personal accolades followed as Michalak was named First Team All-District, First Team All-Northern Lakes League and team MVP her senior year. As a junior, she was named First Team All-Ohio, First Team All-District and was the team's Coaches Award recipient.
Valparaiso is coached by Jordan Stevens. The Crusaders (42-17) just won the Horizon League Championship and will play in the NCAA D-I tournament for the first time in program history. They open up play on Friday against Louisville.