"It ended up being a really good pairing because I probably needed to be a little more laid-back and relax just a little bit and have a little more fun and not be so serious about it," Osterman said."My first two years of college, I was obviously really serious about it because I was trying to make the [Olympic] team."I think we both have a mutual understanding of where our relationship is," Willis said."I know a lot of other people from the outside think I get a lot out of it, being Cat's catcher.It fell through after the Bandits drafted the catcher in 2007, leaving the two on competing teams for the only time in their careers.Osterman took a hiatus from the professional league the following year while the national team toured in advance of the Beijing Olympics.I know that she really trusts in me, and because of that trust, that's why she asks for me." Maybe it's a stretch to suggest destiny decided Willis and Osterman should be paired together.Younger by two years, Willis knew of Osterman before she met the pitcher -- everyone in softball knew something about the tall lefty from Texas who held her own against the national team when she was in high school and dominated college batters from the moment she arrived in Austin.
But when Osterman returned to Rockford for the 2009 NPF season, she called Willis and, in her words, begged the catcher to come back.But Osterman, too, knew of Willis before they met for the first time at a tournament in Canada when Osterman was pitching for Team USA and Willis was still in high school.Osterman was tipped off by her uncle about the promising young catcher from Arizona.It is not the sound of a silent partner in anything, let alone one of softball's longest-running successes.For much of the past decade Willis has been recognizable as much by association as anything else.And I do, I absolutely do, and I'm forever grateful for her trust in me.