Despite associate coach Cat Osterman departing from the Texas State softball team to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games this season, the two met again-this time in opposite dugouts.
The team faced their own coach, who also starts as a pitcher for the Olympic team, in a 5-2 loss against the US National Team on Sunday as part of the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Florida.
For both the team and Osterman, a three-time Olympian, the game is one they won’t forget.
In the last game of the NFCA Classic Tournament in Clearwater, Florida, Osterman took the mound and faced the players she has coached for the last six years on Sunday.
Texas State pitcher Delilah Barrera said the game was unreal for her as she pitched against her childhood heroes.
“It was surreal,” Barrera said. “You grew up watching these players when you were little… they (U.S. Olympic players) were our heroes and inspired us to become softball players.”
Out of all the players in the game, Osterman said she was the most nervous as she faced her players on the mound.
“It was more nerve-wrecking than anything,” Osterman said. “As a player, you are trying your best but you also know these (Texas State) players see me as Coach O.”
That did not mean Osterman took it easy on her players.
Going 3.2 innings, Osterman allowed one hit and struck out eight Bobcat hitters. The lone hit Osterman allowed happened to be a solo home run shot by senior infielder Hailey McKay.
Osterman said that the home run was special as she’s seen McKay grow into a softball player in her own right.
“I’ve known Hailey since she was 10,” Osterman said. “It’s kind of cool to see her, rather not off of me, but to see her succeed at that level.”
According to McKay, it was a memorable moment for her not only to square off with her coach but also to see Osterman pitch.
“I’m pretty sure I got lucky on a couple of those hits,” McKay said. “I was speechless seeing Coach Cat in her element on the mound.”
At the bottom of the fourth, Texas State was able to escape out of a bases-loaded situation, with senior outfielder Christiana McDowell scoring Texas State’s second run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Mackay. Team USA scored another run in the sixth to take the game 5-2.
After the U.S. Olympic Team defeated Texas State, Osterman celebrated with the Texas State team she helped coach for the last six years in an emotional moment after the game.
Osterman was proud of her teams’ performances—both of them—and said that the Bobcats will continue to be successful if they keep playing at the level they did on Sunday.
“They played the game,” Osterman said. “(Texas State) weren’t scared of playing the U.S. Olympic team…if they can play at this level every single week, there is no telling how far this team can go.”
The Bobcats finished the weekend with wins over South Alabama (5-2) and Louisville (7-3) and close losses to 15th-ranked Kentucky (2-1) and 23rd-ranked Auburn (3-1).
Texas State returns home this weekend to play in the Bobcat Classic, kicking off the tournament against I-35 rival UTSA at 6 p.m. Thursday.