Monday, February 22, 2016

Jennie Finch and Cat Osterman

On September 3, 1980 in La Mirada, California, Bev and Doug Finch welcomed a new baby to the world. That day was the day that, Jennie Finch, an olympic gold medalist, Japan Cup MVP, Women’s sports foundation Athlete of the year, and 2009 USA Softball player of the year was born. Jennie is a well known softball player for the Chicago Bandits and the USA Olympic Softball team. Jennie grew up around softball and baseball her whole life and pursued her dreams of being a softball player when she grew up.

Jennie Finch was the youngest of her two brothers. Family is who she gives most credit to for her success, and something that is very important to her. Jennie’s mom was a die hard Dodgers fan, her father worked with her on softball skills over the years to build her into a better player, and her brothers both also loved to play baseball. Her family has made a very big impact on her softball career and has been there for her through every step of the way.

Starting to play softball at age five, Jennie was being taught by her father to pitch by the age of eight. He was her first pitching coach, and as her coach, he was doing anything and everything to be able to help her get all of the practice she could get in. He did absolutely everything her could to help her progress and succeed. Helping her get in the practice that she needed, he made his own batting cage in their backyard, and would sit back there with her for hours while she threw to him. He also made a pitch-back. It was made out of a trampoline for her to pitch into in the evening and when he wasn’t there to catch for her. He eventually became her personal coach.

Jennie was playing for a 10u team at the age of eight and was gone almost every weekend to a different field playing with her all-star traveling team. Jennie was very competitive and the more competitive the playing environment was, the more Jennie was wanting and thriving to play. She hated to lose and did everything she possibly could to prevent that from happening. At age twelve, she was playing for a 12u team that she led to win the American Softball Association title in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Every summer, Jennie took her skill levels and made an impact on the national tournaments.

From the start of Jennie’s pitching career it was obvious that she lived a competitive environment, and so was her natural athletic ability. Her hand-eye coordination was great, and she was bigger and faster than most of her teammates. She had a cannon for an arm, and that strength helped her speed and power of her pitches. 

Jennie Finch was known as a very famous pitcher through college, and when she started playing for the United States Olympic team. She played for the University of Arizona from her Freshman to Senior year. She was then in National Pro Fastpitch playing and pitching for the Chicago Bandits. She has been on the US Olympic team since 2006. Finch has been named for many awards throughout her career and overall has had a very successful career. 

Jennie is married to Casey Daigle a major league baseball pitcher. He proposed to her on the University of Arizona’s softball field. He took her to the mound blindfolded. 

He said, “You have been the queen of the diamond for four years. Now I want you to be the queen of my heart.” 

They have two sons and a daughter together; their oldest son, Ace Shane, was born on May 4, 2006, and their youngest, Diesel Dean, was born on June 19, 2011. Their daughter, Paisley Faye, was born on January 12, 2013. On July 20, 2010, she announced that she would be retiring to focus more on her family. She was the most famous softball pitcher of her era.

On April 16, 1983, Gary and Laura Osterman gave birth to a beautiful brown eyed, brown haired baby girl named, Cat Osterman, not knowing that she would grow up to be the wonderful athlete that she is.

Cat started playing softball in first grade, but quit to play basketball and soccer. She started softball again in fifth grade, and that’s when she found the love of the game. She was the backup pitcher on her little league team. Over the years, Cat has set many records. In her high school softball career, she broke school records for strikeouts. During all of Cat’s years playing,  she made a lot of progress and is now a very successful pitcher. 

On Cat’s last ride,  she quoted, “I’ve laced up my cleats for the last time, and of course, it’s now that I wish for just one more day. Not every ending can be storybook, and in this case it’s not. I say ‘it’s ok’ because the last 2 nights I left everything I have on that field in Hoover, and the game unfolded how the softball Gods wanted it to. Twenty-one years ago, I asked for a pitching lesson for my 11th birthday; no one would have imagined where it would lead. Thank you to my parents & family for the amazing support on this journey, to my amazing teammates on every team along the way, to my coaches… Especially Ken Eriksen who helped mold a skinny little 18 year old, Bobby Smith, who taught me to spin the ball the way I do, and to Coach Clark for giving me an opportunity. Thank you USA Softball for a great 10 year run with 2 Olympics. To Don and USSSA Florida Pride, thank you for an incredible 6 years of being a professional!”

Jennie Finch and Cat Osterman have both been very successful with their careers. Before they were on the Olympic team together, they played against each other and were opponents in the National Pro Softball League. They have both been big influences on young softball players and teaching them to never give up on doing something they love. They are now both retired from their softball careers to spend more time with their families and friends.

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