Eeten ends career in record fashion

Tom Batters
Caty Eeten

Eureka High School softball coach John Stromberger did not give many signs when Caty Eeten was up to bat.

“She was pretty much on her own. I left it up to her. If she wanted to get a bunt down, then I knew she would be able to do it. If she wanted to hit, then I just let her hit,” Stromberger said. “I had total confidence in her every time she was up.”

Who could blame him?

Eeten ended her career at Eureka with a .621 batting average, the second highest in IHSA history (Yolanda Griffith of Chicago Carver hit .623 from 1985-88). Eeten’s 84 hits in a season are also the second most of all-time for one year.

She went 39 straight games with a hit (third most all time), and she once had 10 straight hits (she had nine straight hits twice).

“She’s a phenomenal player,” Stromberger said. “Her numbers are amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The numbers are great, but Stromberger said he will miss much more than that next year when Eeten goes off to play for Illinois Central College.

“She was always so positive. That’s what I’ll miss the most. She always had a smile on her face, and she worked extremely hard in practice,” he said. “She was that rare player who had superior physical skills, but she also had a great mental approach to the game. She was always so prepared and focused.”

Eeten’s career numbers are even more remarkable considering that she only played varsity softball for two years. She ran track her freshman year and sat out her sophomore year with an ACL injury.

Stromberger said Eeten, who is also a standout basketball player, is actually still learning softball.

“Her best softball is still ahead of her,” he said. “When she gets to college, I expect her to flourish. She will keep getting better and better.”

Eeten was the Hornets’ starting catcher, but, in a recent all-star game, she also played right field and second base.

“She was an outstanding catcher. She was a vocal leader and director on the field, and not many runners stole off her,” Stromberger said. “But, she is versatile. If they (ICC coaches) want to play her at second, or in the outfield, then she will do well there, too.”

• Eeten was a first team all Corn Belt Conference selection. Lexi Litwiller and Erin Hoelscher made the second team. Shelby Payne was an honorable mention selection.