By Jeremy Costello

Sports Editor

While she might be a few states to the south, Casady Marlnee, in some ways, will feel right at home with West Texas A&M.

Marlnee, Augusta’s senior catcher who tranferred from Bluestem two years ago, actually likes the challenging environment coach Shane Steinkamp brings to the Orioles’ practice field. Now, next year, Marlnee will be playing for another coach, Kevin Blaskowski, with a similar style at West Texas A&M. Marlnee signed a letter of intent to join the Lady Buffs’ softball program next year.

Steinkamp said he and Blaskowski used to be college roommates and coached women’s basketball together, so Marlnee will know what she’s getting into.

“Kevin’s just like Shane. He pushes you,” she said.

Though the distance is far, she couldn’t pass up an opportunity to play for the nation’s No. 1 ranked softball team in Div. II.

“Everybody has to grow up sometime, so why not just take the big leap for that,” Marlnee said about moving to Texas.

Marlnee has had a long road and worked hard to earn this opportunity. She only started learning how to play catcher her sophomore season, but she’s put in the extra practice to get comfortable with the position. She earned All-League honors as a catcher for the Orioles last year.

“I’ve had to work really hard at catching and the outfield just to catch up to the girls who’ve done it since they were little,” Marlnee said.

“For her to be able to come in and work and do the extra things, we threw her into the fire, and said ‘Okay, this is how you’re going to learn,’” Steinkamp said. “...She became a student of the game from behind home plate and [learned] how to call a game and work with pitchers. That’s a mentality you can’t always just teach.”

He added that Marlnee has athletic ability with good size and build that makes her such a valuable prospect.

“I’m quick for how tall I am and built, and I hit for power,” Marlnee said.

Marlnee said she wants to study speech pathology.

Her parents are Richard and Barbara Marlnee.