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Thunder Signs Olympic Gold Medalist to ContractOsterman becomes first pitcher locked up for 2007

ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford Thunder of National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) and General Manager Aaron M. Moore announced today that they have signed pitcher Catherine (Cat) Osterman to a contract for the 2007 season. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Osterman, 23, most recently went 6-0 for Team USA at the World Championships in Beijing helping them win the gold and the No. 1 seed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The 6-2 lefty finished her eligibility at the University of Texas in June of 2006, finishing her career with a record of 135-23. She was 37-2 during her senior season. In addition to her success in college, Osterman has also won several gold medals, including an Olympic Gold in 2004 with Team USA.

“The signing of Cat is extremely exciting for our organization as we continue to prepare for our first season in Rockford,” said Moore. “Cat is easily one of the best, if not the best, pitchers in the world. Her ability as an athlete, coupled with the type of person she is, is only going to make Rockford and the whole NPF stronger.

“We think this signing will help make us the team to beat in 2007,” stated Moore. “The battery of Cat and Mackenzie (Vandergeest) is going to be special to watch this season.”

While at Texas, Osterman set 25 single-season or career pitching marks, including becoming the NCAA’s career strikeout leader with more than 2,200 in her career. During her outstanding career at Texas, Osterman also took home the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year award four times, the Honda Award for Softball (presented to the best college softball player) twice and the Big 12 Player of the Week award 25 times.

“I am very excited and very happy to be joining the Thunder,” exclaimed Osterman. “The team that is being put together is a good one and I am looking forward to being a part of it.

“This is also special for me because I will be close to some of my family,” said Osterman. “It’s going to be nice to be able to see some of my family in the stands for our home games in Rockford.”

Osterman was drafted No. 1 overall in last year’s NPF Senior Draft by the Connecticut Brakettes, but chose not to sign with the expansion team, making her officially a free agent on September 30.

For more information on the Thunder or to purchase season tickets for the 2007 season, contact Aaron M. Moore, general manager, at (815) 965-7000 or amoore@thunderprofastpitch.com. Additional information on the team can be obtained on the web at www.thunderprofastpitch.com.

- THUNDER -