It isn’t difficult to find Cat Osterman following a National Pro Fastpitch softball game.
Just look for the longest line.
The league has a perk for fans. One is that every player is available for autographs after the game along the outfield fence. Fans move from right to left fields in acquiring the signatures. Most move pretty quickly, until they hit Osterman. Then it’s to the back of the line or no signature for you.
As the star of this league, Osterman’s face is recognizable to the fans and her pitching is the bane of opponents.
Osterman bedazzled her fans and frustrated the Rebellion in helping the USSSA Pride to an 8-0 victory Sunday at rain-soaked Consol Energy Park.
The Pride, now 6-2, swept the four-game series and sent the Rebellion into a three-day stretch of off days with a 2-6 record.
Osterman missed her turn in the rotation in this series because of lower body stiffness but didn’t show it against the Rebellion yesterday.
“I felt pretty good out there,” she said. “I didn’t have a set number of pitches. I knew if we had a lead, I wouldn’t finish the game.”
Osterman, a 6-0 left-hander with a great drop ball, pitched four shutout innings and struck out five. Osterman threw 68 pitches, walking one and allowing four hits.
“I threw a lot of pitches in the first series (against the Rebellion),” Osterman said. “I just needed some work.”
The 31-year-old Osterman, a two-time Olympian, embraces her fame in the league and is first in line for the autograph sessions after the game.
“I enjoy this, and I know there will be a day when I can’t do this anymore,” she said. “I want to enjoy it while I’m playing and relish it. I think about the future sometimes, and I know this body won’t hold out much longer. It (retirement) might happen sooner than people think, but not this year.”
The Rebellion have been shut out twice in a row and have scored just four runs in the last 35 innings. They entered the game batting .191 as a team with seven players hitting under .200, and went 5-for-25 in this loss.
Pitcher Anna Miller made her first start of her NPF career and didn’t make it out of the second inning. She was pulled in favor of Dallas Escobedo after giving up four consecutive singles. She allowed four runs on 39 pitches, 21 for strikes.
“It was great to get the lead,” said Pride manager Gerry Glasco.
Madison Shipman had the key hit in a two-run first inning, a single to left that scored Brejae Washington and Kristyn Sandberg. In the second inning, Amanda Kamekona, Megan Willis, Washington and Caitlin Lowe had consecutive hits that helped produce two more runs.
The Pride added two runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Rebellion stranded eight players and manager Rick Bertagnolli said the team needs to get better in those situations. It’s something they will work during the off days.
“We have a few things to work out, especially on the offensive end,” he said. “We need to try to not be so timid (with runners in scoring position). We’ve gotten runners on base, and it’s getting them across that’s been kicking us. It’s a concern for me and a concern for the players.”
Attendance was 1,013. … The game was delayed 65 minutes because of a storm that passed through the area. Had it not been for the artificial turf at Consol Energy Park, the game would not have been played. … Lowe had two RBI and Washington and Kamekona each scored twice. … Lauren Lappin and Bianca Mejia each had two hits, accounting for four of the five by the Rebellion. … The Rebellion begin a four-game series at Akron Thursday.