Our latest Athlete of the Week takes us out to Vestal where the Golden Bears have been near or at the top of the State Rankings the last three years, thanks in part to one of the best softball players this area has ever seen, Cat Petteys.

Home runs, game-changing web gems, or just a base knock, you get it all with Vestal's star shortstop, Cat Petteys.

"Every coach loves a game changer," said Vestal softball head coach Vickie Sax. "And that's what she is. She has the ability to flip a game like a light switch."

And this isn't a new phenomenon for Petteys whatsoever, playing softball as long as she can recall. 

"Basically, my whole life," Petteys said. "My mom's a college coach. So I always tell people, like, since I could walk and talk, that was going to be the plan. And ever since I had a bad, I just kept it in my hands, I guess."

But what wasn't so certain, was actually being a Golden Bear, Petteys transferred to Vestal as a sophomore when her family moved to the Southern Tier.

"I didn't know what it was going to be like coming in here. Like, you never know the environment you're going to get. You don't know who's already here playing sports and all that kind of stuff."

However, it didn't take long for Cat to work her way into the group and the lineup.

"When Kat first got here, I was kind of like, wow, like, she's good," said senior first base Chloe Burkhard "Like, we needed this."

Chloe was right, in Petteys' first season as a Section IV All-Star, the Golden Bears slugged their way to the state championship game. Since that year, that then-sophomore group has remained one of the best in the state, both in the box and on the field.

"I feel not as much pressure when I know that they're behind me," said senior pitcher Reilly Storer. "Because I turn around and I talk to Cat after every pitch. I look at Kendall [Brady], and it really just makes me feel so much more comfortable out there and not so much on an island."

And that might be what makes Cat Petteys special more than anything. Sure she can hit .800 and grab 100 career hits, and reach double-digit home runs just 10 games into the season, but it's about staying cool and collected whether she homers or strikes out.

"I try to keep everything pretty equal so that I never get up or down," Petteys said. "And I try to lead my team with that level-headedness."

With a 12-0 record, it's safe to say it has.

"The only expectations, we have to live up to are our own," Storer said. "And that's what we have to focus on and taking it step by step."

And maybe one of those steps will be returning to a state championship and giving the Vestal Softball program its first state Championship. But this team, the undefeated and top-ranked in the state, isn't sweating that right now...  

"This year it's all about having fun," Petteys said. "Enjoying your last year here, going as far as we can go and just enjoying my teammates because I'm never going to get to play with them again after this. So it's pretty special."

Petteys is committed to play softball for UConn after graduating.

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