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Burdge ends historic run at PSU-Altoona

Photo by Conner Gilbert

EDITOR’S NOTE – Recently, Editor in Chief Kenny Varner sat down an interviewed Penn State -Altoona’s most decorated hurler Kate Burdge after her final season on the mound. They talked about her time at PSU-Altoona, her high school career as a member of the PIAA winning PO softball team of years past and her future goals.

HS: How long have you been playing softball?

KB: I’ve been playing softball since I was six but have been playing ball since I could pick up a bat. All of my cousins would play ball at my nans house everyday during the summer. One of the cousins that was at my Nans everyday was Matt Adams.

HS: How does it feel to hold all those school records at Penn State-Altoona?

KB: It feels really good to hold the records I do at Penn State Altoona. It took a lot of hard work, mentally and physically, to get where I was by the end of my softball career. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears were put into hours upon hours of practice. And it’s nice to end my career leaving my footsteps on the diamond.

HS: What record are you most proud of that you broke in college?

KB: – I think the record I am most proud of is my two perfect games. The reason for this is because it didn’t just involve me. These two perfect games were possible because of every teammate and coach, on and off the field. Yes, the perfect game goes under my name but I couldn’t have done it without my team behind me.

HS: Did you have any high school teammates on your college team? If so, who were they?

KB: Yes, I played college ball with Abby Showers during my final year at Penn State Altoona. This was a super cool experience because we both changed some off the field but once we got on the diamond together again it felt like nothing had changed since high school.

HS: What was your favorite pitch?

KB: I would say my favorite pitch was my curve ball. I worked really hard to get my curve ball to become one of my best pitches. It was my go to pitch when I needed a strike. On another note, I really enjoyed throwing hitters off so I loved my change up. Keeping the batters guessing and controlling the game was one of my favorite aspects of pitching.

HS: What was your record in college?

KB: My record in college was 58-30

HS: Coming from Philipsburg-Osceola and playing under coach Gonder, how did that prepare you for taking the next step to playing college ball?

KB: I didn’t realize how much of an impact Coach Gonder and PO’s program had on me until I got to College. I knew our high school program was good but I didn’t realize how good until I talked to my new teammates about their high school programs. Coach Gonder and the rest of the coaching staff prepared me for College ball by expecting that I gave it my all everyday and at every practice. I got mentally tough during my 4 years in high school because of the level the coaching staff expected from me and my teammates. They taught me what discipline was. They taught me how to be one step above other teams that we played. And most of all they taught me how to work together as a teammate and do whatever it took to help out my team. What I learned during my 4 years in high school, under Coach Gonder, will stay with me forever.

HS: what was your record in high school?

KB: My record in high school was 46-3.

HS: How did it feel to be on that special team that won the state championship?

KB: – It makes me proud to say I was apart of the State Championship team. It actually feels pretty surreal when i talk about it because it was a dream of mine after i watched PO win the first state championship game in 2007. I can still replay the game in my head but the game seems a lot slower in my head then how it actually played out. Knowing that I was the only run that scored, thanks to the help of my former teammate Macy Harpster, during the game was super cool also.

HS: what would you say is your favorite memory on the diamond?

KB: – I can’t really pin point just one favorite memory because i have so many that are dear to my heart. A general memory that will always be with me is the way I felt when both teams got announced and the National Anthem was played before the games. I got, and still do to this day, chills and goose bumps when both teams got announced. I think I liked this so much because the announcer was calling every girl that could make or break the results of the game. This was a special time for me because it was my time to get in the zone. I would hum the National Anthem and close my eyes. I guess it sounds funny saying the National Anthem helped me get calmed down and got the nerves out but in that moment in time it was my way to mentally prepare for the game we were about to play. From that point on it was game time

HS: How good were you at the plate, batting? High School? College?

KB: – I think I was a good hitter in high school and college. I could’ve improved at both levels but was happy to get the chance to bat because I was a pitcher.

HS: What did you major in in College?

KB: My major in college is Nursing. Once I have my degree I will have a bachelor’s in nursing with a minor in psychology.

HS: what do you most want to be remembered for after your career ended?

KB: I want people to remember me as the player that loved the sport so much that it showed in every game. I want people to remember how hard I worked and pushed myself to be the athlete I wanted to be. But most of all I want people to remember the type of person I am off of the field.

HS: Who was your role model growing up?

KB:I didn’t have just one role model. Many people inspired me to be the best athlete that I could be. One of my favorite role models is my youngest sister Sadie. Sadie was diagnosed with Autism at a young age. She is one of the strongest and the most determined person I know. She fights through every battle she faces head on and that is truly inspiring. Knowing that Sadie may never get the chance that I have on the field is an inspiration in itself because it makes me feel blessed that I was able to play the game I love for so many years. I knew that no matter what I did on the field I would always have my #1
Fan cheering me on. Her favorite song is also the national anthem.

HS: what advice would you like to pass on to young girls just getting their softball career?

KB: I would tell girls just getting into softball to play every game like it’s their last. I can remember a time when someone told me this and I said yeah right I’m only 10 years old I have a lot of softball. Here I am 22 years old and my whole career went by faster then the blink of an eye. I would tell the girls to fall in love with the sport and give.it everything they have because it’s all worth it in the end. I am glad that my parents, coaches and teammates pushed me like they did through the years because it made me the athlete I was. I would tell them to always remember, Softball is hard. If it were easy it would be called baseball. (I always loved to say this when in reality they are both difficult sports!). If I could tell them anything though, it would be to have fun and smile. And to not cry when it’s over, smile because it happened.
On a personal note I would like to thank my pitching coaches, Dave Stodart and Ali Stinson. They both have taught me lessons on and off the field that I am forever grateful for. My family has made a friendship with theirs that will last a lifetime. I would also like to thank all of my coaches and teammates I have played with. Because of them I was able to make many memories through softball. And last but not least I would like to thank my mom, dad, and the rest of my family. They gave me the opportunity to become the athlete I am. There is not enough thank you’s for that. Being able to play softball as long as I did and to have the opportunities I was able to have means more to me then they’ll ever know. Also, Dad, thanks for catching me all those years. Without you I wouldn’t be the pitcher I am today.

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