HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Cat Osterman, a dominant pitcher and one of the greatest players in the history of American softball, started her journey in Houston. But on Monday, she played her final game ever with Athletes Unlimited.
Osterman said she feels heartache but also comfort as she prepares to walk away from softball. Similar emotions go through opposing batters' minds walking away from home plate after facing her dominant pitching.
"A little bit of sadness, a little bit of relief," Osterman told ABC13's Adam Winkler during a Zoom interview.
Eyewitness News cameras first captured Osterman decades ago when she was an ace for Cypress Springs High School. Three Olympic medals, three National Player of the Year honors, four All-American honors and enshrinement into multiple halls of fame weren't part of her dream back then. It was because softball's growth was stuck in the on-deck circle.
"Basketball was my first love," Osterman said. "Professional softball was existent, but it wasn't popular. I didn't know that that would be something I did long-term. I wanted to play as long as I could, but everything that came with post-college softball, and I would never have dreamed about it at all."
Her sport, one which she's poured her heart into since a young age, is now one of the fastest growing in the nation, and games are broadcast regularly. Osterman's iconic career was long and successful enough, influencing not only the sport but multiple generations.
"It was really cool to have women my age talk about ways I was able to inspire them, and now they have a daughter," Osterman said. "They were able to watch my love of the game and share it with their daughters or granddaughters or nieces."
In fact, of all she's accomplished, the 38-year-old said playing while pushing 40 is what she's most proud of.
"Most female athletes retire early, so we have to go figure out other things to do," Osterman said. "Not many still play at an elite level like this. It's not uncommon for males, but I think it's uncommon for females."
Osterman started at a young age, succeeded until a much older age and has managed to inspire people of all ages.
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