Dancer kicks up dust on the diamond


George Morin / The Advocate

Radiology major and Comet pitcher Cicly Ragsdale has a passion for dance, but continues to juggle college classes and athletics.

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

In a perfect world where both the captain of the baseball team and cheerleading squad fall in love and have a daughter, naturally she would become a talented dancer and also one of the captains on her softball team.

That is women’s softball pitcher and shortstop Cicily Ragsdale’s pedigree.

Born in 1996 in Redding ,Calif., the radiology major knew it wouldn’t be public perception that defined who she would become.

“In Redding, people thought I was stuck up because I held myself to a higher standard, but I wanted more,” Ragsdale said. “It is different here. People are so blunt and in your face that when they see me they just think I’m shy.”

Leaving home for San Pablo was not the first option for the freshman. A good student and a captain on a winning softball team, she batted .340 with 14 RBIs in 17 games for Anderson Union High School. As a senior she had the option to go to other schools.

When scheduling classes after graduation she missed the window to enroll in some of the classes she wanted at her local community college. Since her grandparents lived in the Bay Area and Contra Costa College offered some of the classes she needed, she decided to make the 200-mile move.

“I chose not to go to a four-year (out of high school) for my family mostly,” she said. “People don’t expect me to have struggles like everyone else, but if they knew my household they would. I knew a little about grants and scholarships, but I still knew it wouldn’t cover everything and did not want to create financial burdens.”

Before playing her last two years at Anderson, Ragsdale gave up softball to focus on her other passion — dance.

“Dance is my passion,” she said. “Some people express themselves through singing or athletics. When I hear music I have to dance.”

The duality of the human mind is the battle of what is inside versus outside influences. Like deciding between dance or athletics or whether to stay or leave home for college.

“My mom was the cheer captain and dad was a baseball player. I’m like my mom and my sister is like dad,” she said.

Ragsdale learned to play softball at age 3 in the backyard with her dad, Carl, and sister Celina Ragsdale.

“Both girls are good athletes. Celina is a year older so Cicily had to always play a year up so they could play on the same team,” Carl Ragsdale said.

All three Ragsdales recalled Cicily regularly running into the house calling for mom because they were throwing the ball too hard. Eventually Cicily found her spot in left field, away from the fastballs.

“Having her so far away is probably as hard for me as it is for her. I used to make it to all of her games,” Carl Ragsdale said. “I know she will be OK though. She doesn’t get caught up in all of the drama.”

In her two years off from softball, Ragsdale’s cheer squad won “most outstanding” in competition against 23 other squads while having only six girls on her team and one stunt group.

Like Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, Ragsdale uses her dancing to find tempo on the playing field.

“Both are all about rhythm. When you don’t have rhythm your timing is off,” she said. “When you field the ball, make the turn, deliver the throw it’s all in rhythm like one, two, three, one, two and three in dance. If you lose the pace you lose the out.”

Celina Ragsdale said, “She was always a good cheerleader. I had no idea she would go out there and be so aggressive. When she hit college she just grew up.”

Ragsdale did not come to CCC with softball on her mind but tried out nonetheless.

“She came with a tremendous spirit and a go-getter attitude,” Comet softball coach Karolyne Gubbine said. “I kind of threw her to the fire. I felt like she would accept the challenge to see what she was made of.”

While playing softball in high school, Ragsdale was behind pitchers like Cheridan Hawkins, who currently plays for the University of Oregon’s softball team, so throwing was never a priority.

“(Cicily) used to pitch to me in the backyard but she couldn’t throw strikes with nothing on the line. But when she got in the game it was a different story,” Carl Ragsdale said.

Although the Comets are winless so far this season, Ragsdale said she has found new friends and teammates to bond with through the Comets’ turbulent season.

Comet catcher Angelica Espinal said, “Thank god I met (Cicily) this semester. Without her it would have been really hard going through a season like this. Our attitudes are more similar than the other girls — we get each other.”

Overall Ragsdale said her experience playing for the Comets will be good for her because people are more forward in the Bay Area, which makes voicing her opinion easier.

“There is a perspective here that you just wouldn’t get in Redding.”