Steele trying to set example

Published 12:01 am Monday, August 1, 2011

Trinity Episcopal pitcher Katie Steele said she had to adjust to her new role as a senior leader on the team, but now she’s embracing the role of being a role model for her younger teammates. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — “Be careful what you say or do, because little eyes are watching you,” is a phrase Trinity Episcopal softball player Katie Steele heard many times growing up, her father Ken said.

Ken said he and his wife Pam raised Katie to be a good kid and a good role model to those that look up to her, and now those childhood lessons are paying off for the Trinity softball team.

Katie is one of two seniors on the Lady Saints’ squad, and she is by far the elder statesman on the team, having played with the squad since her sixth-grade year.

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“At first (being a senior) felt really weird, because I was used to looking up to people and modeling myself after them,” she said. “But now I’m the role model, and I have people looking up to me.”

Katie said at first she felt like the leadership role would be a burden, but then she decided that she was already equipped with the tools needed to lead her team.

“It can be (tough), and I can feel pressure sometimes,” she said. “If I’m being myself, and do what I’m supposed to do I will be fine, because my parents raised me right.”

Another burden Katie must bear this year is being the workhorse in the circle for the Lady Saints.

The last two seasons Katie threw every pitch in every inning of every game for the Lady Saints, she said. This season she expects to get a little help, but she is still the No. 1 pitcher.

With that in mind, Katie spent the entire offseason working on her pitching, including developing some new pitches, she said.

“I didn’t play basketball to focus on my grades and softball,” she said. “I’ve been pitching all winter, and played in the Vidalia softball league (this summer).”

Katie was on the inaugural Lady Saints’ softball team, she said, and she thinks this year’s team has the chance to be special.

“We just got better and better and took things from each coach,” she said. “Now I feel like this will be our best year.”

Katie and Ken both said head coach Chris Hutchins has been a huge benefit to Katie and the entire Trinity softball program.

Ken said he has seen his daughter’s progression as a softball player, and he is really impressed with her work ethic.

“She’s always been a very good athlete, and she’s worked very hard and really intense,” he said.

Katie said her goal this year is to win district for the third season in a row, and to advance further in the South State playoffs than in past seasons.

Katie was scheduled to pitch Friday in Trinity’s opener against Central Private, but the game was rained out. The team will head to Centreville Academy today for a weekend tournament.