Kate Burge doesnt want to think about the things she accomplished as a Philipsburg-Osceola softball player.
A tough 2-0 loss against Riverside in the PIAA Class AA semifinals a little more than a week ago is still a little fresh.
I dont think Ill be able to look back for a couple of months, maybe even until I start college softball, Burge said. Its still a bittersweet thing that happened.
But Burge, one of five Centre County participants in Thursdays Pennsylvania Softball Coaches Association All-Star Game at Lock Haven University, knows that one of these days shell look back fondly on her career with the Lady Mounties.
And when she examines them, shell find numbers worthy of a future District 6 Hall of Famer.
In four years as a starter, Burge helped the Lady Mounties win four District 6 titles, a PIAA title, a PIAA runner-up finish and a PIAA semifinal berth. In 2 1/2 seasons as a starting pitcher, she amassed a 46-7 record, including a 20-1 mark this past spring. She was also a prolific hitter and scored the winning run in P-Os 1-0 victory over Brandywine Heights in the 2011 PIAA title game.
She was not only a pitcher, but a really good hitter, too, P-O coach Jim Gonder said. She was a big part of the team as a freshman and started four years.
While Burge swung a solid bat her long home run against Greensburg Central Catholic in 2011 was memorable its her right arm that defined her P-O career.
Burge said she always wanted to be a pitcher from the time she started playing at age 8.
When I was younger, my parents would always tell me that if this was what I wanted to do that I had to realize what I was committing to that every single week I had to practice four or five times, Burge said. It wasnt like I could just pick up my glove, spikes and bat and go out and play.
Its hard for an 8- or 10-year old to understand what that means, but I think I had a pretty good understanding of it. I would watch college girls and Mountie girls in high school and would see how good they were. I always knew I wanted to be the best I could be and I pushed myself. ... In my eyes, I wanted to be a part of every single play, so I worked my butt off to make that happen.
Pushing herself meant workouts with pitching gurus Dave and Ali Stodart in the offseason. Over the years, she learned six pitches fastball, curveball, riseball, drop, screwball and changeup.
She got her first chance to move into the circle as a sophomore when ace Chelsea Rex developed arm problems. Burge filled in and went 7-1 before Rex returned.
The short stint revealed much to Burge, who returned to third base to finish out the season.
I didnt understand what mental toughness was three years ago because all I did was hit, she said. I knew there was some of it, but I didnt understand completely until I had to come in for Chelsea in my 10th grade year. I saw what every pitcher goes through and I knew I had to become mentally stronger if I ever wanted to see the mound in high school again.
She became the teams ace in 2012 and won 39 games over the next two seasons. Her 20 wins this season tied a school record and her 46 wins are fifth in school history
You have to teach yourself how to be mentally tough, she said. You cant really be taught, Heres how you need to become mentally tough. Its just watching, going through situations that are stressful and that you have to be mentally tough for. Its not just in high school. Its summer ball and fall ball, too.
Burge is looking to pitch in college. Shell attend Penn State Altoona and hopes to join the growing contingent of Centre County players who have helped turn the program around under the leadership of former Bellefonte High School assistant coach Fred Caldwell.
Its like a Centre County All-Star team and I know almost every single one of them which makes it a lot easier for me, Burge said. I like to know who I play with. Already knowing them, that steps checked off.
Burge said there are no promises at making the squad, but thats OK with her.
I think I like it better him not telling me I have a spot because that makes me want to work extra hard to know that I made it there by myself, she said. ... I like it that I have to go in and show them what I have.
In the more immediate future, shell join Bellefontes Erica DeVinney and Jess McClenahan, Bald Eagle Areas Megan Dudish and Penns Valleys Madisyn Sharer on the District 6 roster for Thursdays 5:30 p.m. clash against District 4.
Burge is excited to play with so many of the players that she has faced.
Seeing all of the girls in it, it was amazing, she said after Tuesdays practice session. It was like, Oh my gosh, I played against all of these girls. Ive never really talked to them that much. Actually, Ive never talked to a lot of them at all. Just knowing who they are and remembering what theyve done when you played them, its awesome that were all coming together now.
Its like, Aw, she hit a home run off of me, but shes on my team now.
Burge admits that she misses high school already and the bond that she had with her Lady Mountie teammates. She hopes to work with animals and possibly to coach some day.
And down the road, shell remember a fantastic high school career.
I havent really measured what Ive done in high school, Burge said. Whenever I realize what Ive done, its going to be like, Holy crap! Im reading some of the newspaper articles and Im like, Wow, I forgot about that.