WOOD RIVER JCT. — It didn’t take long for Chariho High senior Kate Powers to decide to attend the University at Albany to continue her distinguished softball career.
She knew as soon as she stepped foot on the Albany, N.Y., campus in late August.
“I just knew it was definitely the one for me,” she said Tuesday. “I loved the campus and I could see myself going there. I loved the coaches and I could see them coaching me.
“’You’ll know when you’re there,’ everyone says that. And I knew when I was there.”
Powers made things official on Nov. 13, emailing her letter of intent to attend UAlbany on an athletic scholarship and pitch for the Division I Great Danes.
Powers said the process of choosing a college was a long, arduous one. She’d been contacted by between 15 and 20 schools since her junior year, and visited Brown, Hartford, Iona, Lafayette, Pennsylvania and Saint Peter’s. UAlbany wasn’t on the list until after her 2018 summer travel season, when the Great Danes contacted her through her personal pitching coach, George Perlotto.
Powers “really liked” Iona, but UAlbany won out, making for the best fit in terms of athletics, academics and the campus setting.
At UAlbany, she plans to study biology and go on to medical school.
At Chariho, the 5-foot-9 Powers has been a standout in three sports, volleyball, basketball and softball (she will only play softball at Albany).
She was 11-6 with a 2.34 ERA and struck out 107 in 101⅔ innings as a sophomore, earning second-team All-State and first-team All-Division honors.
Last season, Powers was first-team All-State and All-Division after leading the Chargers to an 18-6 record and three wins in the Division I playoffs. She was 15-5 with a 1.93 ERA, with 192 strikeouts in 126⅔ innings. She also hit .418, homered three times and was second on the team in hits with 33.
After Powers was named All-State last spring, Chargers coach Dave Petrocelli said, “Having Kate on the mound in every big game, you can’t ask for anything more. She was one of the top two pitchers in the state. ... Besides her fastball, she has a really good rise and a drop curve. She worked hard during the season and in the offseason to get stronger to throw a little harder. She does a lot of work behind the scenes.”
The Great Danes (26-17, 13-4 America East in 2018) have won the America East Conference tournament and qualified for the NCAA Tournament the last two years under Chris Cannata, a 1985 UAlbany graduate who’s entering her 25th season as head coach.
Cannata’s career record is 727-379-1 overall, with seven conference tournament crowns and six conference regular-season titles. Five times she has been named the league’s coach of the year.
Powers, who’s traveling to Albany to meet the team in a couple of weeks, said she was told playing time is based on merit.
“You earn your spot, basically. It’s gonna be who’s getting them wins,” she said. “I like that. That’s fair. Who knows? [Playing right away] is the goal. No one goes to college to sit on the bench. I plan to work hard. I like a challenge.”