Ostaszewski leaving lasting legacy at Ryan

The youngest of five siblings to go through Archbishop Ryan High School, Kate is the last standing — and is doing her best to keep the legacy alive.

For the first time during her Archbishop Ryan career, Kate Ostaszewski is the only member of her family on the team. She’s learning how to be a team leader while playing shortstop. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Kate Ostaszewski never had to look far for somebody to play ball with.

Ostaszewski is the youngest of five siblings to attend Archbishop Ryan High School. Her older brother Mark was a football player, while her three older sisters — Christina, 27, Sarah, 20, and Emily, 19 — were stars on the Ragdolls’ softball team.

In fact, for the past three seasons, Ostaszewski was teammates with family members.

During her freshman and sophomore years, she was on the team with both Sarah and Emily. Last year, Sarah played at St. Joe’s University, but Emily was still on the team.

Being the youngest has its disadvantages, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.

“Sometimes, it was hard because they would tell me what to do,” Ostaszewski said. “There were times that I would just roll my eyes, but then I’d do what they said. It always worked, too, so they knew what they were talking about.

“I had them helping me my whole life. They always helped me. We always wanted to see each other do well.”

This year, she’s the only Ostaszewski wearing a Ryan uniform and she’s keeping the legacy alive.

After playing third base during her freshman and junior years, and outfield in her sophomore campaign, this year Ostaszewski is manning shortstop, the same position Emily patrolled a season ago.

The new position comes with many new challenges, but when she has a quick question, she doesn’t have to go far to get a little advice.

“I like that I’m playing different positions, you get to learn different things and experience different parts of the game,” Ostaszewski said. “The biggest adjustment I had to make was being the leader of the infield. That has been hard to learn, and I’m trying to get better. The other parts about playing softball, I already knew. I was still an infielder, just at third.”

There was another part of the game Ostaszewski learned during her junior season that wasn’t something she hoped she’d ever experience.

After winning the Catholic League championship during her freshman and sophomore seasons, the Ragdolls fell in the semifinals of the Catholic League playoffs last year. It wasn’t a surprise because the Ragdolls lost a lot of good players to graduation, but Ostaszewski had hoped she could go 4-for-4. The good news is, she still has a chance to go 3-for-4 with a championship this year, and so far, she likes what she’s seen.

The Ragdolls are undefeated. Like many teams, the Ragdolls have missed a lot of games due to the wet spring, but they do have a win over Pennsbury, which is considered one of the best teams in the area.

So far, so good.

“Last year was sad because we lost, but I think we have a good chance to win it this year,” Ostaszewski said. “I wanted to four-peat, we all did. But we’re hoping to get it back this year. The Catholic League is good, but we’re playing a lot of tough teams in the preseason. We wanted to get off to a fast start and then keep it going. We’re doing that.”

It helps that they have Ostaszewski leading the way in the infield. But she’s just doing what she’s always done.

“We have a really good team this year, I think we came together quickly and that’s helping us,” Ostaszewski said. “We have a good team. It’s weird because we only have four seniors on the team. So we still have a lot of young players but they’re really good, too. I think we have a good chance at doing well.”

It’s the final chance for an Ostaszewski to lead the Ragdolls to a championship.

Next year, she’ll take her talents to Kutztown, where she’ll continue her softball career.

“I went there and I really liked the campus and I loved the softball coach,” said Ostaszewski, who is unsure about a major, but is considering communications or sports management. “I liked everything about the school. I think I’ll like it.”

But the goal is to ride off with three championships and bring home another championship jacket for the Ostaszewski closet.

“I’m going to miss playing here when it’s over,” Ostaszewski said. “It was great because I had a chance to play with my sisters, but now I’m having one more season to play by myself. It’s weird playing without them, but the season is going good.

“I’ll really miss the friends I made at Ryan. But we still have a lot of time left. The season is just starting and we hope to play for a long time.”