Oldest of Gary and Laura's children, Catherine Leigh Osterman was born on April 16, 1983 in Houston, Texas, and has two younger brothers, Craig and Chris. She played soccer and basketball until the day she filled in for her Little League softball team as a back-up pitcher. She was hooked and asked for pitching lessons for her eleventh birthday. From that point on, her passion for softball blossomed and she became a high school and club softball phenomenon. To avoid confusion with another Catherine, her coaches began calling her "Cat".
A left-hander, Cat stands 6-2, with hands so large she can grip a softball entirely with her fingers rather than having to cradle it in her palm. That allows her to put above-average spin on the ball and surprise batters as arguably no one has. She has command of six pitches but claims she rarely throws her fastball.
In summer of 2001, after graduating from Cypress Springs (Texas) High School as the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year, Osterman was invited to join USA Softball's national team. Over the years, Cat has accumulated impressive stats and won other numerous awards. She ranks first in the nation in strikeouts per seven innings at 15.4, and is the first softball player to twice appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She owns four of the top five seasons for the NCAA's best strikeout ratio (strikeouts per seven innings pitched), and was the first of only three NCAA pitchers to register 2,000-plus strikeouts. Cat won a gold medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics and is now looking forward to competing in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
As a Texas LonghornDuring her four years on the Forty Acres, Osterman was named USA Softball National Player of the Year three times and is noted as one of the top softball pitchers in the world. Osterman was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team to take home a gold medal in Athens in 2004, and the 6-2 lefthander set the NCAA career strikeout record (2,265) and strikeout ratio record for strikeouts-per-seven innings (14.4), as well as ranking No. 2 all-time in career shutouts (85). While leading the NCAA in 2006 with an ERA of 0.37 and 15.4 strikeouts-per-seven-innings pitched, Osterman finished 38-4 with 28 shutouts and five no-hitters and led 55-9 Texas to a Women's College World Series berth (softball's final eight) for the third time in her Longhorn career.
Osterman has broken virtually every University of Texas school pitching record, as well as several Big 12 Conference records. As a freshman, she pitched the first perfect game in UT softball history - the first of her seven career perfect games and just one of her 20 career no-hitters. As a sophomore she was named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year after leading the Longhorns to their second-ever Women's College World Series appearance. In her junior year, she posted a season record of 30-7 with a 0.36 ERA, pitched 22 shutouts and six no-hitters with three perfect games to again garner Player of the Year laurels and a return trip to the World Series.
Osterman was a four-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American and three-time Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year (only athlete from any men's or women's sport to earn the honor more than once) and was the four-time Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year - becoming the first Big 12 student-athlete across all sports to earn a player of the year honor four times. In addition, the psychology major was a three-year member of the All-Big 12 Academic Team.