Pitcher Cat Osterman, one of the final active links to the last U.S. Olympic champion softball team, retired following the National Pro Fastpitch championship game Monday night.
Osterman, 32, took the loss as her USSSA Pride fell to the Chicago Bandits 1-0 in Hoover, Ala.
In 2004, Osterman made her first Olympic team at age 21 while taking a year off from pitching for the University of Texas. She was the youngest player on the team that won gold in Athens.
In 2008, Osterman started the gold-medal game against Japan and gave up the first earned runs by a U.S. pitcher in the tournament. Japan stunned the U.S. 3-1 in what would be Osterman’s final Olympic game.
Before the Beijing Games, baseball and softball had been voted out of the Olympics starting in 2012.
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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. 21 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 @usasoftball for a great 10 year run with 2 Olympics. To Don and @usssafloridapride thank you for an incredible 6 years of being a professional! I'm proud to be family. @meganjowillis there aren't enough words to say what you mean to me… 10 crazy, fun, irreplaceable years of you by my side. I love you more than you can imagine. You're the best. Lastly, thank you fans for the constant support! It's incredible how many of you have been on this journey for majority of it. You make what we do worth it to see your smiles and hear your stories! Thank you, everyone!! The cleats are left, the last ride has ended.