By Chelsea Lacey-Mabe
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Sunday, nearly a week after the Villanova men’s basketball team won the NCAA championship, after the parade crowds had dissipated and everything was back to normal, one Villanova player marked a major milestone.READ MORE: Southwest Philadelphia Shooting Leaves 17-Year-Old Boy Critically Injured: Police
Starting softball pitcher Kate Poppe notched her 900th career strikeout, ranking second nationally on the NCAA active all-time career strikeouts list.
“I wasn’t striking a lot of people out that game and it took me to the 6th inning and when I did, it was like ‘oh thank God it’s over,’ recalled Poppe. “I’d rather it just be me throwing the game but it was still awesome when it happened.”
Poppe has stuck to the same warm-up routine since she was 12 years old to get into the zone while trying to stay loose for the game. In years past she’s had to work through some nerves in the first few innings.
“I think definitely my mindset this year has been different. It being my last season I’m just trying to go out there and have fun with my team and basically just do the best that I can,” noted Poppe. “I’m just trying to enjoy every second of it.”
The mindset is clearly working with the Wildcats beating Seton Hall on Sunday 10 to 3. They picked up another W against the Pirates on Monday, bringing their winning streak to an even 10.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police Investigating Hit-And-Run That Killed Woman In Germantown: 'I Feel So Bad For The Family'
“You’re not going to see anybody else break that record at Villanova—I don’t think ever,” explained head coach Maria DiBernardi. “I’m really proud of where she has come in these last four years.”
DiBernadi has known Poppe since she was a freshman at Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown and attended pitching clinics at Villanova. She recalled her initial disbelief that a 9th grader could throw 61 miles an hour… but Poppe could.
“Biggest key to Kate’s success is that she can put her pitches where she wants to put them and you don’t find that anymore,” said DiBernardi, a Downingtown native herself. “Life after Poppe’s going to be hard I have to admit.”
Poppe meanwhile is trying to figure out life after Villanova and considering her chances of playing softball professionally. If not she’s thinking about coaching college ball.
As for the rest of this season, morale is high in part because of Poppe’s success and the school pride felt all over the Villanova campus.
“We need to do our best to live up to the Villanova name,” said DiBernardi whose team is currently 19 and 13. “They feel that, they know that.”MORE NEWS: Locals Flock To Lower Merion For Penn Wynne Civic Association’s 79th Annual Independence Day Celebration
Their next game is Thursday at 2:30 against Lafayette at home.