Woltemate continues to display leadership at Ryan

Erin Woltemate will play centerfield this year after starting in left as a junior. MELISSA MITMAN / TIMES PHOTO

Erin Woltemate is now a leader on her softball team.

But for the past four years, she’s been a leader in her school.

Woltemate is a senior at Archbishop Ryan High School and for the fourth straight year, she is the vice president of her class. She first won the nomination midway through her freshman year and it’s something she’s held on to all four years.

“Basically, I run all the events and do things at the events our school has,” Woltemate said. “We had the Color Games, which is like spirit day at other schools, and I MC’ed that and helped plan it.

“I like doing things like that, representing the school. I don’t get nervous speaking in front of people or anything. I like it. Being a leader is doing things like speaking in front of big crowds. I am very comfortable with it.”

Being a leader is something that Woltemate worked hard on and now she’s one of the leaders of the Ragdolls as they begin their quest to defend the Catholic League championship.

Woltemate, who started last year in left field, is now starting in center field for Ryan and so far the results have been really good.

The Ragdolls won their first two Catholic League games by a combined 31-0. They’re picking up where they finished last year, winning the league crown and a game in the state playoffs. And Woltemate feels like her squad has a great chance to win another, but she also knows the team has a lot of work to do.

Erin Woltemate is the vice president of her senior class at Ryan. MELISSA MITMAN / TIMES PHOTO

“We were really lucky last year because we had great seniors who helped everyone,” Woltemate said. “All of them contributed and made sure we were ready when we had to play.”

This year, that void is being filled by Woltemate and the other seniors on the team. The leadership role came easily for her. Now she’s trying to get used to her new position.

“Last year after (Annie Cashman) graduated, we needed a centerfielder and I’ve played that before. It’s different, it’s harder, you have a lot of ground to cover, but I’m getting better at it.”

As a centerfielder, Woltemate’s biggest responsibility is to make sure she chases down balls and also makes sure her teammates are in the correct positions. But she is also a key cog in the Ragdolls’ batting order.

“We don’t have a set lineup yet, but I usually either hit second or ninth,” Woltemate said. “I’m a pretty good bunter, so even when I’m not getting hits, I’m trying to get runners over and give us chances to score. And when I hit ninth, they like me to turn the lineup over and help keep innings going.

“I’m a pretty good runner, that’s something I’m good at, so I try to get on base and then advance. I use my speed there.”

Woltemate isn’t too concerned where she plays in the field. She’s not too concerned where her spot in the lineup falls. What she is concerned about is how the season ends.

The Ragdolls have won two championships during her time at Ryan. They lost in the semifinals when she was a sophomore and it was a feeling she doesn’t want to repeat. The Ragdolls have won four of the past five PCL titles.

“I remember people were sad, it really hurt losing that year,” Woltemate said. “I’ve been on both sides. Winning it feels so good but losing it really hurts. Not winning is tough, especially when you know you could have won it. I think we have a really good team, so if we play our best, we can win it.”

Woltemate also wants to win because this is likely her final year playing the sport she’s been playing her whole life.

Next year, she is bound for Penn State. She will be very busy with school, however. She plans on majoring in nursing.

“I wanted a job where I can help people,” said Woltemate, who ranks in the top 20 percent of her senior class. “When I wanted to go to school, I knew I wanted to go to a place with a good nursing program and Penn State has a great one.

“It’s going to be a lot of work, a lot of studying. I think I want to work in an emergency room. That’s my goal. Penn State is a great school, but I know I can’t play softball there.”

Because it’s her last hurrah, nothing less than a championship is the way Woltemate wants to see her career come to a close. And she’s not just looking for another Catholic League championship.

“We have young players who are really good and they’re going to help us so much,” Woltemate said. “I want to win one more. And with the players we have, if we win, I want to win a state championship, too. I think it’s definitely something we can do.”