(Editor’s note: After this interview was completed, Master tore her ACL while competing for Mainland Regional in the Last Out Tournament. She’ll begin that rehab after having surgery in September and will attend classes at Central Connecticut State remotely for the fall semester before joining the softball program there next spring.)
Katie Master is a recent graduate of Atlantic City High School and one of the premier softball players in the Cape-Atlantic League. She has committed to Central Connecticut State as a scholarship student-athlete. Earlier this summer, Sully caught up with Katie to discuss her lost senior season and what being a part of Atlantic City softball has meant to her the past four years.
Sully: At what point did you realize there wasn’t going to be a 2020 season?
Master: I held out hope the whole time, until they said there wasn’t going to be a season, that’s when I knew it wasn’t happening. I was trying to hold onto the hope without getting too down.
Sully: How quickly did it hit you guys, because there really wasn’t a lot of warning that anything this big was coming down the pike. In January people thought it wasn’t going to be that big of a deal.
Master: Honestly, I thought we would be going back to school in a month but then they were like, no, you guys aren’t going back for the rest of the year. I thought it was a joke, like, you’re funny, we’re going back. But then I realized we weren’t. It’s crazy, because I walked into the high school (in June) to drop off all my materials and I was thinking, ‘this is the last time I’m going to be in this school as a student.’ It was very weird.
Sully: The moment you found out the season was canceled, what were your emotions?
Master: I was devastated. I woke up that morning and saw it all over social media and I started crying. I put a big post on Instagram.
Sully: What were you hoping for out of this season? You already had the college locked up and you’ve already proven you’re one of the best players in the Cape-Atlantic League. What was on your list of things to accomplish?
Master: This spring, I wanted to go for Player of the Year. That was my goal. That was my mindset all winter — work hard and be better than everyone else. That’s how I’ve always been, but this year I had such a different approach. I had been recruited, so I felt like I was ahead of the game and I knew as a senior with a lot of varsity experience that I could go for Player of the Year this year.
Sully: How much more confident did you feel coming into this season?
Master: So much more confident, especially because I knew I’m about to play for a Division I softball program, I felt like I could actually do this.
Sully: How long did it take you to realize that it was a real thing that your senior season was gone?
Master: Probably the week before the season, that’s when it hit me. We were waiting to hear something, and we thought there would be an announcement that we could go back to school now. But then I was like, OK, it’s done.
Sully: How did you process that and start looking to move on to college? Everybody wants that senior day and all the stuff that goes along with being a senior, being the captain, all those kinds of things.
Master: I just tried to stay busy. I worked a lot during the quarantine. I have two jobs, and I would go to the field a lot. I just tried to keep my mind busy so I didn’t have to think about anything. I worked all the time.
Sully: What are the things that come to mind when you think of things you’ll miss about this season? What kind of things do you think about when you consider what this season would have provided, the last time to step onto the field with this group of players?
Master: Just the experience of being a senior. I know for field hockey it was so special, and I know for softball it would have been just as special. And pitching on the high school field one more time because I’m probably not going to ever pitch again. That’s one thing I wanted. In (summer) travel ball I might just pitch an inning to say, ‘OK, that’s it.’
Sully: What are you looking forward to most when you get to Central Connecticut State?
Master: Just the overall experience and playing softball at the college level. It’s going to be so different and I’m so excited for it.
Sully: Do you feel like you’ll be behind the eight-ball a little bit because you didn’t have a senior season? Or do you feel like with the summer travel season you’ll be ready?
Master: I’ve trained more during the quarantine than I probably have my whole life, so I feel almost ahead of the game. Yeah, I haven’t seen live pitching, but I feel like once I do, I’ll be ready.
Sully: What would you say to fans of Atlantic City softball, your other teammates, your coaches? What has meant the most to you when it comes to being a part of that program?
Master: Just how everyone backed me up and always was there for me, that was the biggest thing. Especially the coaches. Everyone there always supported me no matter what, through every situation, and that meant the most to me.
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDsullysays