New Franklin senior Cassie Armentrout knew from the time she was little that Central Methodist University in Fayette is probably where she would end up after finishing out her senior year for the Lady Bulldogs.
Although Armentrout is a two sport athlete at New Franklin, the senior standout made it official on Thursday in front of friends and family at the New Franklin media center by signing a softball letter of intent with CMU.
“I chose CMU because I’ve wanted to go there since I was little,” Armentrout said. “I grew up in a CMU family. Both my parents went there, my older brother goes there now, and I want to continue with the tradition. They have a combination of both academics and athletic excellence that I can succeed in. CMU will provide me with many options for whatever career path I decide on.”
CMU softball coach Pat Reardon said obviously he’s known Cassie his whole life while playing baseball with her dad and seeing her around school and being friends with the family.
“It’s kind of a different recruiting process when you already know them,” Reardon said. “We gave her the options, the opportunity to look at us and wanted her to explore some different things. With Ross (Dowell) being over here and the whole program I think it was a good fit for her.
“She is very versatile. She doesn’t want to and probably won’t pitch for us but she will be able to compete at second base and a few other things. She’s real smart and she plays the game hard so we are looking for her to getting in the program and get strong and see what happens.”
While playing multiple positions last fall for the Lady Bulldogs, Armentrout led the team in both hitting and pitching while batting .426 with a team-leading 11 doubles along with a slugging percentage of .647 and an on-base percentage of .487. Meanwhile, in the circle, Armentrout finished 15-3 on the season while giving up 66 runs, 43 earned, on 124 hits and 46 walks while striking out 78 batters in 117 2/3 innings for an ERA of 2.57.
New Franklin softball coach Ross Dowell said Armentrout is a tremendous competitor. “Cassie is a very good utility player that had pitch for us,” Dowell said. “Unfortunately sometimes you don’t get to play your favorite position at the Class 1 level but she did what was best for our team. She ended up being an upper average hitter. She struggled sometimes with injuries but she was a tremendous defensive player. I thought knowledge of the game she was good at. She did what we needed done and did some different things on the basepaths that other people couldn’t do just because of her knowledge of the game.”
Armentrout also had a standout career for the Lady Bulldogs while hitting .366 with 87 hits in 238 at-bats with 56 singles, 22 doubles, seven triples, two home runs and 60 RBIs. In the circle, Armentrout was 31-12 in her high school career with 184 strikeouts in 266 innings for an ERA of 3.078.
She also ranks in the top 10 in several categories for New Franklin with four individual single season records (3 hitting, 1 pitching), six individual career pitching records and seven individual career offensive records.
A three-time all-conference and all-district selection, Armentrout was also selected academic all-state and all-region three years running.
Armentrout, who has been playing softball since the age of 10, said to compete at the next level she will need to improve all around, specifically her speed and strength.  “As always, hitting is a priority, and will be more of a priority at CMU,” Armentrout said.
As for her short and long term goals at CMU, Armentrout said her short-term goals is to get varsity playing time. She said like anywhere else, she will have to work to earn a spot on the varsity team.
As for her long term goals, Armentrout said she wants to become a varsity starter.
“Along with that, I want to be a part of continuing the winning tradition Coach Reardon has established at CMU,” Armentrout said. “Again this process spanned over my whole life. I’ve been following their program since I was little. They’ve seen me play my whole high school career, and within the last couple years, we’ve really sat down and talked about my future with their program.”
While closing out her high school career in softball last fall, Armentrout said winning two conference and two district titles and placing fourth at state as a freshman was probably the highlight of her career. She said every team she has been a part of has accomplished something special that she will remember forever.
“Looking back over my high school career, I wanted to win a state title,” Armentrout said. “We placed fourth in state my freshman year, but fell short of making it back the other three seasons.”
As far as the biggest influences on her playing softball, Armentrout said her parents have definitely been there from the beginning. She said they’ve always pushed her to do more than she ever thought she could do, whether that was encouraging her to try out for a new team or to just have confidence in herself.
“They’ve sacrificed so much for me, and I owe all my success to them,” Armentrout said.
Armentrout said although her career at New Franklin is a thing of the past, she will miss playing softball with her teammates and coaches.
“As a team, we’ve shared both joyful experiences along with disappointing ones,” Armentrout said. “I will never forget the moments my teammates and I have created together.”
In addition to CMU, Armentrout said she was also looking at attending Maryville University in St. Louis and Rockhurst University in Kansas City.