Game 30 Leaders Pack | 2020 Athletes Unlimited
Cat Osterman needed only a little help from her friends to stave off a heroic effort from Jessie Warren for the overall points title in Athletes Unlimited softball.
She got more than a little help.
Osterman’s Team Gold overcame an early 3-0 deficit with a middle-innings blitz that simply overwhelmed Team Warren on the way to an 18-3 victory in the 2020 finale of the inaugural season.
The Gold side put together nine-run innings in the fourth and fifth to leave no doubt as Osterman took the night off of pitching and allowed lefty Haylie Wagner to toss a complete-game victory.
There were four homers hit by the Gold side, none more impressive or majestic than the three-run moon shot hit by Jordan Roberts in the fifth. Roberts got hold of the ball and sent it soaring into the night sky, well over the four captains banners that were flapping on a breezy and chilly evening.
The ball carried nearly to a highway on-ramp. The estimated distance was 300 feet with an exit velocity of 79 mph.
Also homering for Team Osterman was Lilli Piper (a shot off the scoreboard in right-center), Gwen Svekis, and Anissa Urtez.
When the air traffic finally subsided and the game ended, Osterman secured the individual points title among the 57 players here with 2,408, followed by Warren (2,020), Victoria Hayward (1,860), and Erika Piancastelli (1,840).
Osterman spoke during the closing ceremonies.
“To be honest, I came into this thinking it was just an opportunity to get some game innings, and you guys have truly changed my life,” she told her fellow players. “At 37, I think most people expected me to come in here and impart knowledge on you guys, and you guys probably imparted more knowledge than I could give.
“I’m going to challenge you guys. It’s your responsibility to keep playing. The reason you can play is because Megan Wiggins and I have kept playing. The reason Jordan Roberts had an opportunity to play this year is because Gwen Svekis has continued to play. Continue to play so the people below you have the opportunity to do this and have their life changed the way we all did because I think we are all leaving here in the next couple days nowhere close to the same person we were when we came in.”
For Team Warren Monday, Hannah Flippen gave the Orange side a 3-0 lead with a two-run homer in the third.
Warren did her best to keep her title hopes alive with a first-inning single. She also made a sensational diving catch of Aubrey Leach’s pop foul in the fifth, displaying no let-up even as the game was slipping away. This was Warren’s first loss as a team captain after she began 8-0 leading her teams.
Team Osterman finished the weekend 3-0 while Team Warren fell to 2-1. In the circle, Wagner finished 5-4 for the season.
The MVP breakdown for the game was Urtez (60 MVP points), Roberts (40) and Tori Vidales. Urtez added a triple and had five RBI. Vidales had three doubles and a single.
There was one other award to be handed out. Haylie McCleney was named the GEICO Defensive Player of the Year for her many spectacular plays in the outfield.
“It would be awesome,” she said earlier in the day before receiving the award. “Playing defense is something I’ve always prided myself on throughout my entire career, even more so than offense, I think. To be considered with Flippen and (Abby) Ramirez is an honor and a privilege in and of itself. I’m very, very lucky, very, very happy. It’s definitely a really cool thing.”