Jordan overcomes injury to play at Georgia Highlands
by Jason Greenberg
Jan 23, 2014 | 768 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Woodland senior Ashley Jordan had a county-leading 40 hits this season to go along with a .345 batting average, scored 19 runs, drove in 17 runs and hardly let anything drop to the grass from her left field position.

Jordan was named to the Region 5-AAAAA first team, was selected to play in the 2013 Georgia Dugout Club All-Star game and was named the 2013 Daily Tribune News Co-Player of the Year.

However, the most impressive aspect of Jordan’s season is the perseverance the Lady Wildcat displayed to overcome major knee surgery in December of 2011 to return to the field.

Jordan was able to overcome the daunting obstacle to help lead Woodland to the state playoffs this season and was rewarded for her determination on Tuesday when she signed her letter of intent to play softball for Georgia Highlands.

“It worked out perfectly,” Jordan said of her recruiting process and her decision to attend Georgia Highlands. “It fits me really well and it’s close to home. I met all the girls and they are all really cool. It’s just right for me.”

“She went to the camp there and the head coach [Melissa Wood] spoke and Ashley was inspired by coach Wood,” Jordan’s mother, Angela Grizzle said. “We didn’t know anything about the school at the time because it was a new school and they hadn’t even had a season yet. It was in the summer and she was like, ‘I really like their program, I really like their coaches.’ She even had written emails to coach Wood earlier that she was inspired by her speech and that she was so passionate about the program.”

Jordan is now pleased to have a scholarship to go to Georgia Highlands and play softball. However, for awhile, she was unsure whether her injury would get in the way of her dream of playing at the next level.

“I was just scared and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make a good enough team for travel ball. I was definitely doubting it, but I did it,” Jordan said of how her injury made her question whether she would be able to play college softball. “It was really hard. I went to therapy. I guess I just got back into it, but it was difficult at first. Now I’m very happy with it and I’m very proud of myself.”

Jordan had PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) reconstructive surgery in December of 2011 after a freak accident during softball practice.

“They were doing drills in practice in travel ball and they were just doing a race drill. They were running and she avoided running into a girl and she fell full speed onto that knee,” Grizzle said. “She had to hit it perfectly. The stars had to be aligned.”

“It’s very rare in sports,” Jordan’s father, Brad Grizzle, said. “It’s more common in car accidents when the knee hits the dashboard.”

Woodland sorely missed one of its top two-way players during the 2012 season. However, Jordan would come back better than ever for her senior year and become one of the best all-around players in the county.

She also improved as the season progressed and showed a knack for coming through in the clutch. In four region tournament games, Jordan had eight hits, including three doubles. Her leadoff double in the seventh inning ignited the three-run comeback against North Paulding to put Woodland into the state playoffs.

She also made two run-saving defensive plays in the game to keep the Lady Wildcats within striking distance.

“She worked really, really hard and she doesn’t give herself enough credit because she had a complete tear of her PCL, a torn meniscus, and her ACL was sprained and badly bruised to the point it was almost torn,” Angela Grizzle said. “It kind of gave her time, because she had played for so long since she was 8 years old, she did the same thing and [the time away from softball] made her want it. It let her miss it.

“It was very frustrating for her because she was used to working out and being physical, but I think she grew and learned to appreciate her abilities.”

Jordan batted out of the leadoff spot for Woodland this season and used her speed and her left-handed “power slap,” as Woodland head coach Colman Roberts called it, to ignite the Lady Wildcats by driving the ball into the outfield gaps.

Jordan will now take her game to the next level, something she had been dreaming of doing for years.

“When she first started playing, around 8 when she realized she loved it, she was like, ‘You could go to school on a scholarship and play softball.’ So for her to actually say that then and be here now and actually have it, that doesn’t happen that often,” Grizzle said. “And she’s a straight-A’s student, too. She’s amazing.”

“She is a perfectionist; her work ethic is amazing,” Brad Grizzle said. “We never pushed her into sports, so we got her started and she was the one with the work ethic and drive to be the best.”