MADISON, WI – One of the best catches in college softball so far in 2023 came from an outfielder who is native of McHenry County, and she’s only been playing that position for a few months.
“I’ve never played outfield, actually. I think I played half of a year when I played for the (Illinois) Chill,” said Johnsburg native Kate Linkletter, who is in her redshirt freshman year at Wisconsin. “As soon as I came here this year, I’ve mostly been taking reps in the outfield. So outfield is new to me.”
But the former Johnsburg High School All-State player looked liked like a poised veteran when she was in right field in the seventh and final inning of the Badgers’ game with No. 13 Alabama at the Bevo Classic in Austin, Texas on Sunday. With Wisconsin hanging onto a one-run lead with two outs, Crimson Tide pinch hitter Faith Hensley lifted a fly ball toward Linkletter in right field.
She sprinted towards the corner and was able to catch up to the ball just before the wall and made the catch. Linkletter would go into the padding but was able to hold on to the ball to preserve a 7-6 upset win over Alabama.
“I’ve dreamed of that moment since I was a little girl,” said Linkletter of the catch. “Two outs, there’s two strikes on the batter, she was battling in the box for a while. You know when you just have the feeling the ball’s is going to come to you? I was just like the ball is going to come to me, I’m going to do everything in my power to catch this ball to secure the win against Alabama.”
Linkletter has played in 14 games this year with seven starts, registering seven putouts in the outfield along with one assist. Naturally, this catch is the highlight of what’s still a very young career in college softball, but it’s one she’ll hear about for a while.
“Some of my old travel ball teammates or old summer ball teammates that I played with the summer and the Florida league kinda reached out to me,” said Linkletter. “But it was just so nice to kinda get Wisconsin some coverage, too, for NCAA.”
You can see Linkletter’s catch in this week’s “Random Hawlight” from our Larry Hawley in the video above.