Katie Virtue signs letter to play softball for Oregon Tech

Scott Swanson

Katie Virtue signed a letter of intent Thursday, Nov. 14, to play softball at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls.

Flanked by her mother, Abby Virtue Hagle, and stepfather Jim Hagle, Virtue signed in front of a crowd of friends and family in the school library.

Virtue was a First Team All-State outfielder last spring after being named as a third-teamer in 2012 and honorable mention as a freshman.

A three-year varsity starter in the outfield and two-time captain for Sweet Home she batted .623 as a junior, with 21 stolen bases – nearly double her batting average as a sophomore.

She has played high-level ASA softball the past three years, most recently for the Oregon Thunder 18 Gold team out of Hillsboro. The past two years, she has played for the 16U Oregon Fury Team out of Independence, where she was the captain of the team.

These teams play more than 60 games in June and July and a lighter schedule in the fall of about 15 games. The Fury qualified and competed in the National Tournament the past two years, one of which they placed in the top 32 teams in the nation. She has played in tournaments in Alabama and throughout the West.

Virtue said she contacted OIT because it offers the major she’s interested in pursuing – medical imaging technology – and Coach Greg Stewart attended a tournament she played in last summer in Medford.

“He pretty much offered me a scholarship on the spot,” she said.

“Based on the kind of competition in that tournament and the kind of pitching she was facing, it was clear that she would fit into our program,” Stewart said. “Academically, she has high standards and she’s accomplished a lot.”

He said he believes Virtue can be a “three-tool slapper” for the Owls, particularly as a speedy left-hander – bunting, slapping the ball to get on base, but with enough power to drive the ball into the gap when needed.

“She’s the complete package, really,” he said.

Hagle, who served as an assistant for the Husky softball squad last season, said the fact that the Owls won their first NAIA national championship in 2011 was a big plus. Under Stewart, OIT has won four Cascade Conference championships since 2006 and has finished second three times in 10 years.

“She’s really impressed by the coach,” he said. “He focuses on academics as well as sports.”

Virtue said she expects to play an outfielder position – she’s not sure which.

“I like the smaller school and just that they have a lot of programs I’m interested in.”