She’s a lethal line-drive hitter with a strong, accurate arm behind the plate. She is also a four-year starter who is universally loved for her personality, leadership, and intangibles. But Anngie Salinas is also a symbol, representing the surge of a girls’ athletic program that was supposed to be on the downhill slide these days.

Salinas, who signed Tuesday to continue her softball career at Butler CC in Kansas, is emblematic of the never-say-die Bobcat Spirit. Five years ago, with the birth of the city’s fourth high school, the word was that EHS would be bled dry by the new district lines; the glory days of a once proud athletic juggernaut were going to be long gone.

Right … yeah … not so much.

As the EHS faithful gathered to celebrate Salinas’ joining a national junior college championship team that went unbeaten last year, the subtext was even sweeter.

“We did lose some athletes with the split, and it was tough for awhile,” said girls’ athletic coordinator J.D. Salinas, who emceed the signing. “But we just kept battling, and the programs found a way to get into the playoff. We didn’t have much of a dropoff, really. And now, you look at this year, we had several district champs, an individual in golf, the softball and basketball teams, we had several girls in regional track. I am so proud of all the girls in sports here at EHS, the way they have been able to compete at the traditional high level.”

Anngie Salinas was part of one of the best softball teams in school history, setting a record with 47 RBI and hitting over .500 in 2017. Yes, for that softball program that people said – back in 2012 – had better count its blessings, like that Lady Bobcat hoops team under Salinas, which was told to remember the good old days and get ready for rough sailing.

Frankly, EHS has not skipped a beat in girls’ athletics, something Salinas is very happy about.

“I think we will continue to grow, we are satisfied with what we have done but we want to keep it going,” he said. “These girls, whatever the sport, seem to be good at battling, struggling in the close games, which is probably because they had their backs against the wall after the split. We may not have the numbers we did in the old days, obviously with four schools now, but we have multi-sport kids who work hard and excel. And we have some young kids coming up to try and keep it alive; they want to be part of winning, too.”

City AD Roy Garza agreed that part of the school’s success has to do with sharing athletes, while former EHS football mentor Joey Caceres added that though he knew it would be hard at first, he figured the quality of the EHS pool would show dividends.

Softball coach Ramon Arciba praised the excellence of Salinas, affectionately known as “Guera.”

“When I came in here this season I knew right off the bat that here was a leader, a hard worker that the kids would rally around,” said Arciba, who led the team to 28 wins and a title in his debut season. “We were the only team in the state to have a 22-game winning streak, and we reached a high of third in state, which is a record for the school. Anngie was a huge part of our success, she sparked us both on offense and defense, and she has been doing it for four years.”

So it was high times at the Old School last week, as Salinas prepared to move to the Midwest, diamond teammate Dezi Marmolejo readied for her next phase, at Midland College (in volleyball) and on deck, junior MVP Amber Reyes is planning on being next in line. Behind her? Extraordinary young specimen Katy Truitt, anyone?

And those folks who predicted the demise of the Red and Blue, way back when? Didn’t hear much from them Tuesday, or come to think it, lately, at all.