Cat Osterman: Fastpitch Softball Legend

You've mentioned that speed is not the most important thing for a pitcher, but instead it's spin and location. Can you talk a little about your approach at the mound?

I just try to keep the ball moving. I try not to throw anything too close to the zone or that flattens out. The more you keep the hitter off-balance, the more successful you'll be.

Last year the U.S. team reclaimed the World Cup of Softball title from Japan. What do you think the difference was from the previous year?

I think last year you saw a different focus. We all wanted to win so bad because we were embarrassed it got taken away from us on our home turf the year before. We really wanted redemption.

Also we had more time to calm down from the Olympics. That first year we came off winning the gold in Athens. And though you try not to think about it, it's in the back of your head. "We're gold medalists!" So we had a different mindset last summer because we knew we had work to do to prepare for the world championships.

I assume the team is expecting Japan to have revenge on their minds.

Oh, I'm sure they will. They always gun for us hard because we've been a top team in the world for awhile.

There seems to be a tradition on the U.S. National Team of veteran players taking younger players under the wing. Can you talk about your experience with players like Lori Harrigan and Lisa Fernandez when you joined the team at a young age?

Lori Harrigan took me under her wing right away. She was the only other pitcher who didn't also hit at the time. So she and I spent a lot of time together with her helping me out and being there when I needed her to. She was great for me and when she retired I really took it hard. But I attribute a lot of my growing up that first year to her.

What's it like looking out into the stands of a stadium and seeing a ton of Cat Osterman jerseys?

It's cool. It's awesome to see so many kids touched by what we do. We didn't necessarily have a ton of that growing up. So for our generation on the field it's exciting to have kids look up to us and wear our jerseys. And now girls can walk around wearing a softball jersey just like a guy walks around in a major league baseball jersey. It puts a smile on our face to know what we do is definitely worthwhile.

After the games in Beijing do you think there's a chance softball can be voted back into the Olympic rotation?

Yeah. I definitely do. It's going to take some planning and strategic action. I'm not sure about 2012, but definitely for 2016 there will be a very good push. A lot of the voters were confused the first time around and don't really understand softball and how universal it is.

I would assume with the prospect of softball being exluded from the 2012 games that the Beijing Olympics take on added significance.

I was the youngest on our 2004 team. So I don't know if many of us will be playing in 2016 -- including myself because I'll be 33 in 2016. That's old! (Laughs) Seriously, this is one of our last go-arounds so we're ready to put everything we have into it.


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