Annie Cashman leads Ragdolls to softball success

Annie Cashman likes to win. Good thing she’s on Archbishop Ryan High School and Alumni’s softball team, then.

Score four? Annie Cashman hopes the Ragdolls can win their fourth straight Catholic League softball championship. PHOTO: ANNIE CASHMAN

Annie Cashman probably wouldn’t make a good contractor.

She knows very little about rebuilding.

Cashman is a junior two-sport athlete at Archbishop Ryan High School, and most Catholic League fans expected her teams to struggle this year.

When she was a sophomore, she enjoyed great seasons in basketball and softball, but mass exodus thanks to graduation gutted both programs, so good times were expected to be few and far between.

It didn’t turn out that way.

In the winter, Cashman, a point guard, helped the Ragdolls establish a new record for wins with 17, including a 14–0 start to the campaign.

When the basketballs were put away and the softballs were picked up, Cashman faced a similar dilemma.

It’s turned out to be an even better outcome.

The Ragdolls’ spring streak is coming at the perfect time. They have won their past five games, and the three-time defending champions are in the Catholic League semifinals, one game away from defending their crown.

Ryan played Bonner-Prendergast in the semifinals in a game that was played after the Times went to press.

It hasn’t been easy, but the Ragdolls are rolling.

“I think we had to start to play together because we knew we had good players, but we did lose a lot of good players so maybe we didn’t know what to expect,” said Cashman, the team’s starting center fielder.

“I expected us to be good. It was different than basketball. In basketball, I didn’t know what to expect. But both have been really fun.

“In basketball, we started off really good, but softball, we weren’t good right away. I think we got better and better. The more we played, the more we got used to playing with each other, the better we did.”

Cashman knows all about playing better when it counts.

During her freshman year, she was a bench player until the Ragdolls advanced to the Catholic League championship. That’s when she got the call to get on the field.

She provided the team with everything it needed, defensively.

“She was young, and she never played outfield before. She was a shortstop before, but she was our best outfielder because she’s so fast, she has a great arm and she’s fearless,” said Ryan coach John Kidwell. “During practice, she ran through the fence. She practices like every game is the seventh inning of the championship. That’s the kind of player she is.”

She’s also the ultimate team player.

During her sophomore season, the Ragdolls returned three strong hitters who started in the outfield, which meant Cashman’s opportunities to start were few and far between.

Instead of worrying about playing time, she worried about taking advantage of the time she was on the field and being prepared for whatever role she was given.

It worked, as once again she had a hand in helping the Ragdolls win their third straight championship.

“I tried really hard to become a better hitter and I’m doing better this year,” said Cashman, who hits in the middle of the lineup. “I’m not a power hitter, I just try and do whatever I can. Get on, move a runner. Whatever I can do.”

Perhaps one reason Cashman is such a spry runner is because she’s a former dancer.

“I have two older sisters (Tina, 32, and Maria, 20), and they’re more girlie,” Cashman said. “I’m more of a tomboy. I just wanted to play sports. I think my dad is really happy about that.”

So is mom. While she might not know all the odds and ends about softball, she knows exactly what she wants from the Ragdolls: wins!

“My mom is very loud and she embarasses me all the time, but it’s because she’s so supportive,” Cashman said with a laugh. “She’s great. Both my parents are. My mom yells. My dad is very quiet, he just stands there and watches. But they’re both so supportive. I’m lucky that way.”

Her parents are also lucky.

Not only is their daughter a dynamic athlete, she’s a star in the classroom, where she’s a member of the National Honor Society and a member of Rho Kappa, which is like NHS for students interested in social studies.

“We do a lot of cool things there,” Cashman said. “We take part in ceremonies and do fundraisers and things like that. It’s given me a lot of cool opportunities, and I love doing the types of things we do.”

The type of thing she likes to do the most is win.

In basketball, she was a second-team All-Catholic selection, and she’s starting to turn heads among softball foes.

But individual accolades aren’t for her. She’s more concerned about team triumphs.

“Last year, I didn’t play a lot, but I still got to hold the championship (trophy), and I tried to play well when I was playing,” Cashman said.

“We’re winning because we are playing together. When we weren’t playing together, we were losing. That’s what our focus should be, winning. That’s what we want to do.” ••