Play ball: Miner accepts D-1 offer |

Play ball: Miner accepts D-1 offer

Christopher Kamrani, Of the Record staff

As far back as he can remember, Robert Cashel has been a baseball player.

Whether it was smacking the ball off a tee in tee ball, learning how to play defense in pee wee leagues or developing into a future Division 1 baseball player, Cashel’s abilities were always destined to for the diamond.

"My mom used to tell me to hit everything," said the Park City High School senior. "If there was a rock on the ground, I’d be hitting it."

The speedy outfielder has verbally committed to the University of Northern Colorado and is taking his top-of-the-order tool set to Greeley, Colo., with him.

Cashel’s baseball achievements are nothing to be surprised by-his family is, as he says, a "baseball family" and always has been. His mother’s side of the family is from Minnesota, and he is a lifelong fan of the Minnesota Twins.

"Our family is pretty baseball oriented," Cashel said. "I just started at a young age, had a ton of skill, and could hit the ball really well."

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While baseball remained the focal point, Cashel also starred at Park City High as a football player.

In his senior season, Cashel was Mr. Versatility as he reeled in two touchdowns on 411 receiving yards, ran for 110 yards and one touchdown, and also snagged two interceptions.

When he began his high school career, Cashel admitted, he shifted his focus to football and at one time considered giving up on baseball to focus on the Friday night lights.

But former head coach Terry Phillips-who is now an assistant coach at Occidental College in Southern California-always saw potential in the fleet-footed outfielder and was one of the first people to tell Cashel that he had the ability to play at the next level.

"He told me if I wanted to, I could go," Cashel said. "That gave me a lot of motivation going forward."

As a sophomore, Cashel saw limited time at the varsity level, but continued to work hard. Once junior year rolled around, he took his opportunity and ran with it.

The strong-armed right-fielder-who’s natural position is center, he said-was an all-state and all-region selection last season. He batted. 400 and stole numerous bases.

Northern Colorado will be getting a leadoff hitter with a relentless work ethic.

"They were interested in my offensive schemes," said Cashel referring to his ability to get on base and create at the top of the order. "That’s what they wanted from me."

Cashel said it would take time to succeed at the next level. He said there are things that players can do at the high school level that won’t translate to the collegiate level, but Cashel believes his unique skill set will help overcome that obstacle.

More than anything, the 6-foot, 175-pound senior wants to leave a lasting legacy in the baseball community in his hometown of Park City.

"I think it’s going to change, " Cashel said. "Kids will maybe realize that baseball can be a priority in this town."

As for this upcoming season, the Miners have an entirely new coaching staff and return only three starters. Park City has two major tournaments in the spring: a trip to Farmington, N.M., to take on a number of impressive teams from the West, and the annual St. George tournament.

"We’re going to take it one game at a time, and we don’t return a lot of guys, unfortunately," he said. "But expectations are high. Region is up for grabs. It’s what you make of it."

Cashel saw his senior year of football end a bit prematurely, and don’t expect him to be looking beyond in his last year on the diamond.

"It’s my last hurrah. I’m in my school; I’m all lined up. I want to finish and I want my team to play well," he said. "I’ve been trying to get to a D-I level. Baseball’s my job now. I want to keep the program going. I want to finish what I started here."