SPARTA — Highland’s Mattie Ruehrmund has a clear passion for playing softball.
She signed to attend and play that sport at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, Thursday afternoon, surrounded by her family, friends and coaches.
Ruehrmund, a catcher, hit .333 last spring for the Fighting Scots. She had 22 hits and drove in 13 runs.
“I started playing when I was 5 years old with T-ball for Marengo Red. I began travel ball in 2012 and have played since then,” she said.
She will catch and play third base for the Little Muskies, who are members of the Ohio Athletic Conference and compete in Division III.
“I made the decision late October after a camp. I felt at home at Muskimgum. I let coach (Kari) Winters know that I was coming.”
She also has played soccer for 3 years and basketball for 4 years at Highland.
Ruehrmund says she loves being a leader on the field, so catching is a natural fit.
“I used to watch my cousin Stephanie, who played for Cardington. I was really passionate about watching her play and knew that’s what I wanted to do. They run the field and help the pitchers frame their pitches,” she said.
At Muskimgum she plans to study sports communication.
“My parents have always been supportive and my brother, who is 9, is my number one fan.”
She is a member of Ohio Scholars’ Association and Spanish Club.
Ruehrmund predicts victories on the diamond this spring despite the loss of a number of seniors.
“I want to take a leadership position role. We’re going to stay competitive, work hard and hopefully have a good season.”
Highland softball coach Shelly Hornsby calls Ruehrmund a “very determined, outgoing player.”
“It’s been phenomenal to have her be one of the leaders, even though she caught for me since she was a freshman. She’s just grown through the years and has done a very nice job.”
Hornsby acknowledges Ruehrmund’s love for the game.
“She lives for playing softball. She does it year-round. The passion is definitely there.”