MADISON, Wis. – One of the best catches in college softball in 2023 was made by a McHenry County native who played the position for just a few months.
“I’ve never actually played the field. I think I played six months when I played for the (Illinois) Chill,” said Johnsburg native Kate Linkletter, a redshirt freshman at Wisconsin. “Once I got here this year, I was mostly taking reps in the outfield. So the outfield is new to me.”
But the former Johnsburg High School All-State player looked like a poised veteran when she singled in right field in the seventh and final inning of the Badgers’ game against No. 13 Alabama at the Bevo Classic in Austin, Texas, on Sunday. With Wisconsin leading by one run with two outs, Crimson Tide pinch hitter Faith Hensley lofted a ball toward Linklett in right field.
She ran to the corner and was able to catch the ball in front of the wall and catch it. Linklater was walking into the pads but was able to hold onto the ball to preserve an upset 7-6 victory over Alabama.
“I’ve been dreaming about this moment since I was a kid,” Linkletter said of the catch. “Two outs, there are two strikes on the batter, she was struggling in the box for a while. You know when you have a feeling that the ball is going to come to you? I thought the ball was going to come to me, I was going to do everything in my power to catch that ball and secure the win against Alabama.”
Linklater has played in 14 games this year with seven starts, registering seven outfield putts along with one assist. Naturally, that catch is a highlight of what is still a very young college softball career, but it’s one she’ll hear about for a while.
“Some of my old road ball teammates or old summer teammates that I played with in the summer and in the Florida league reached out to me,” Linkletter said. “But it was so nice to get Wisconsin also some coverage for the NCAA.”
You can see Linklater’s catch in our Larry Hawley’s “Random Light” this week in the video above.
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