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September 5, 2012 10:09 AM
SanchezIt’s likely you don’t know Katherine “Kat” Sanchez as a tennis player.  You may, however, know her as a softball player. In fact, this summer Sanchez was a prominent member of the Eastdale All-Stars, a group of girls who won the Little League Softball World Series championship. A catcher and outfielder on that Albuquerque squad, Sanchez, 13, along with her teammates was celebrated for more than a week after going 17-0 in playoff games – in district, state and regional tests, and in six games in Portland, Ore., where the team won the title.
An eighth grader at Desert Ridge Middle School, Sanchez has now turned to tennis, which is, she admits, her second favorite sport. 
Where did you learn to play softball? 
My father (Reno Sanchez, who managed the Eastdale team), taught me the way I bat. I move my front foot back and then step into the pitch. When I swing, I load up as pitch comes in. So it’s all one motion. 
How long have you been playing?
This is my third year at softball. I played hardball before that, mainly with boys.  My brothers Lucas (20) and Justin (17), played.  They still play.
You are so well known for softball, when did you have time to learn tennis?
I started when I was in the sixth grade.  Even though we have a tennis court at home, I didn’t really play much before that.  I practiced there with my Dad last summer. Mom (Teresa, the Eastdale team scorekeeper) and Dad are good players and they feed me balls to hit. So does coach Johnson (Dick Johnson, Desert Ridge coach.)
How have you done in tennis?

Last year I played No. 1 on Desert Ridge’s A team.  Two years ago, when I had just begun in tennis, I played on the B team.
The Desert Ridge Diamondbacks have a history of turning out powerhouse tennis teams, don’t they?
We won state last year—the A team.  I think we won B when I was in the sixth grade.  I can’t remember. 
Next year you will be in high school. What are you going to do for your spring sport?  Softball or tennis? Or both? Playing two sports in one season has been done, but not often.
I think it would be hard to do both.  I plan to play softball at La Cueva and then maybe play some tennis tournaments during the summer. 
How tall are you and how much do you weigh?
I’m 5-feet-4, 125 pounds. Not the biggest girl, not the smallest.
Which do you like better, being a catcher or an outfielder?
I like being in the field. You can make awesome plays and dive for the ball.
Are you watching the U.S. Open?
I don’t know any players.  I just watch to learn. They hit the ball so hard it’s hard to follow.
What do you think you do best on a tennis court?  
Probably my ability to get my footwork going. To reach balls. 
There was a photograph in the Albuquerque Journal of you going around second on a triple you just hit.  You appear to be tearing up the basepath.
On our softball team, I was the fastest runner.
How’s your serve?
Pretty good.  It’s similar to throwing a softball.  I’m pretty accurate.  I’ve been working on improving my speed.
How fast does a softball pitch come in?
I’d say about 50 miles an hour.
Has the celebration for your world championship ended? 
[Laughs.] It’s starting to die down.  We’re still famous—but maybe not so famous as before.  We’ve been on channel 7 and channels 4 and 13, too. Oh, and Fox, too. 
And all of the team went to the Governor’s mansion in Santa Fe.  Has there been a ticker-tape parade?
I don’t think so. 
There’s still time.
Yes, I guess. 
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