STEVENS POINT — Ally Miklesh was a hot commodity on the fast-pitch softball circuit this summer.
Fresh off an impressive freshman season for Stevens Point Area Senior High, the centerfielder garnered attention from Division I programs in the Big Ten, Big East and Missouri Valley conferences as well as the Horizon League.
However, when University of Wisconsin softball coach Yvette Healy officially offered Miklesh a scholarship in early October, it was the equivalent of a walk-off home run in her eyes.
A lifelong Badgers fan, Miklesh jumped at the offer and committed to Healy and Wisconsin on the spot.
“I looked at the Badgers as my dream school and I really wanted to go there,” said Miklesh, who will follow in the footsteps of former SPASH standout Sam Polito to Madison.
“(The scholarship offer) felt really, really good and I was excited because it was my dream school,” Miklesh added. “I really like coach Yvette and (associate coach) Randy Schneider. I really wanted to go there, so I figured I’d commit right away.”
Miklesh, who also found appealing the Badgers’ small-ball style of softball and how much they care about their players as people, will not be able to make it official until November of 2017 when she can sign her letter of intent with Wisconsin.
Due to NCAA rules, Healy cannot comment on recruits until they sign their letter of intent.
Miklesh enjoyed a coming out party on the state high school softball scene last spring, earning first team All-Wisconsin Valley Conference honors after ranking third in the Valley with a .439 batting average and a conference-high 15 runs.
Miklesh then impressed on the national stage over the summer. She grabbed the attention of Houston-based scout Mark Mulvany during a showcase event featuring 50 of the top underclassmen in the country.
“Miklesh may be the top CF prospect in the Midwest in the 2018 class currently,” wrote Mulvany, who runs the scoutsoftball.com website and ranked her as the 10th best 2018 prospect in the country.
“Miklesh stole the show in Houston,” he wrote. “She may be the top lead-off prospect of any 2018 player in the country by the time her high school career is through.”
Miklesh, daughter of Bob and Michelle, is the latest in a long line of outstanding outfield and lead-off hitters for the Panthers.
Having grown up admiring former Badger Polito and current UW outfielder Brianna Fluguar, the sophomore has a chance to match or possibly even exceed their impressive credentials before her SPASH career is over.
Like every young player, Miklesh still has room for growth and improvement physically and mentally over the next three seasons.
“Ally has a lot of really good qualities as a player already and has a chance to be a great player; her ceiling is really high,” SPASH coach Tom Drohner said. “She’s going to get a lot better and when colleges see that type of potential, they’re going to come looking.
“The thing about Ally is she puts in a lot of hard work on her craft as a slapper,” Drohner added. “Ally is dynamic (and) she has tremendous speed, which makes her very valuable in many different ways. When she puts the ball in play, she puts a lot of pressure on the defense. And she can flat out go get it in the outfield.”
Miklesh also credited SPASH assistant coaches Mike Multra and Todd VanderLoop with helping her become the player she is at this point in her career.
Now she has three years to work on her game and reach the vast potential on the softball diamond.
A shortstop and third baseman early in her youth career, Miklesh was moved to centerfield in eighth grade and it’s become the position she’s most comfortable.
“Wherever the Badgers want me to play, I’ll play that position, but I love centerfield,” Miklesh said. “I just have to keep working on my power slapping, fielding, overhand velocity and being a spark baserunner.”
She’s still trying to wrap her mind around being a Badger down the road.
“I’m definitely surprised,” said Miklesh of being committed as a high school sophomore. “I just have to have patience now until I can sign.”
Scott A. Williams can be reached at 715-345-2282, or on email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter as @SPJScottWill