The Texas State softball team will play against the National Pro Fastpitch All-Stars on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Bobcat Softball Stadium.
Two-time Olympian Cat Osterman is scheduled to pitch for the All-Stars, headlining the 2012 NPF Back to School Tour that makes its 16th stop of the tour in San Marcos. Texas State is one of 22 universities selected to be a part of the tour.
With the support of Major League Baseball, the Back to School Tour is sponsored by United States Specialty Sports Association. The 2012 Tour marks the third consecutive year that the NPF has sent the All-Stars to compete in exhibition games against top colleges across the nation.
“The tour is one of my favorite events of the year for the NPF, and this year’s schedule is super,” said NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf. “The goal of this tour is to continue to broaden the fan base for professional softball in a competitive environment and to let many of the college programs we play against celebrate their former players that have gone on to become professionals.”
Osterman, an alumna of University of Texas at Austin, and fellow roster member Kelly Kretschman have each won two Olympic medals and received four All-American honors during their college careers.
“The NPF All-Star’s coaching staff doesn’t always take the same team to every game,” said Coach Ricci Woodard. “It’s difficult to determine the make-up of the team. I’m just ready to go out and compete and see what happens.”
The NPF All-Star roster also includes three-time All-American Ashley Charters, two-time All-American GiOnna DiSalvatore and All-American Kelsey Bruder.
The All-Stars had a combined Back to School Tour record of 41-1 from 2010-2011 and are 13-1 in 2012. Last fall marked the sole loss of the NPF All-Stars, at the hands of the 2011 NFCA First Team All-American superstar pitcher Keilani Ricketts and the Oklahoma Sooners. In 2012, the All-Stars lost to Michigan 3-2.
“We’re going to make it as competitive as possible,” Woodard said. “This is a great opportunity to see where we’re at as a team. These are the best softball players in the game, and we have the opportunity to see what it takes to become one of the best teams in the country.”
The Bobcats’ roster will feature 12 returning athletes from last year, including five All-Conference players. The team camaraderie and experience of playing together will be vital going into Thursday’s game against Osterman. During Osterman’s freshman year at the University of Texas she broke her own school record for strikeouts in a single game with 24 in a 12-inning match against Texas State. The previous record for strikes in a game was 23.
“She just hits her spots and exactly where she wants it,” Woodard said, commenting on Osterman’s precision and accuracy with a softball. “Plain and simple she does not make mental or physical mistakes. She hits her zones extremely well.”
During the NPF summer season in 2012, Osterman has accounted for nine wins and four loses with an ERA of 0.71. Osterman accumulated a total of 131 strikeouts, allowed 26 walks and 46 hits in a total of 97.2 innings pitched.
Having the All-Stars coming to town has the players anxious and ready for the challenge.
“It’s huge, playing the NPF All-Stars,” said junior outfielder Coralee Ramirez. “We’ve never faced this level of competition before at Texas State. We’ll have to compete at the highest level.”