Columbine’s Otis is a freshman
There will be no flying under the radar this fall for Columbine freshman pitcher Korbe Otis, the state’s top up-and-coming prep softball player who committed to the University of Louisville as an eighth grader.
Otis’ presence in the circle (5-2 with a 3.35 ERA) and in the box (she’s hitting a teamleading .667 with 12 RBIS and 8 doubles) has already placed No. 9 Columbine (8-4) into the early Class 5A championship discussion.
The 14-year-old’s 62 mph dropball — in conjunction with an effective change, riseball, and screwball — has her sitting down hitters left and right. Her 63 strikeouts rank sixth in the classification.
“She’s a phenom, for sure,” first-year Columbine head coach Jim Santaniello said. “She’s contributing both offensively and defensively, which is impressive to see from any freshman, but most importantly, her toughness and leadership have stood out early in the season.”
And beyond the state’s borders, Otis recently joined the Corona Angels, one of the nation’s top club softball programs based out of Southern California that she plans to play for each summer until she heads off to Louisville.
But Otis has the long-sightedness to realize that while her prep career is off to a blazing start, talent alone won’t take her where she wants to go if she doesn’t work on her craft.
“I do like the hype,” Otis said. “But I’m never going to believe it, because that never gets you anywhere.”
Beyond her aspirations to lead Columbine to its first state championship, Otis aims to one day win a title at Louisville, too, a program she committed to early in the recruiting process despite garnering interest from other top-tier Division I programs such as Stanford, Cal, UCLA and LSU.
“My immediate goals are to get a lot stronger as a player — both mentally, in terms of having more knowledge about the game, and physically, in terms of being able to command my pitches better and throw harder,” Otis said. “I want to be the best player I can be when I enter Louisville, and use my four years there to try to win the Women’s College World Series.”
Complimenting Otis’ talents in Littleton this season is the steadiness of senior captains Melanie Lopez and Erin Smith. The Rebels took runner-up in the Platinum Bracket at their own Dave Sanders Tournament at Aurora Sports Park last weekend — a promising sign as Columbine rides a wave of momentum into its Jeffco League debut at Dakota Ridge on Sept. 22.
“Our confidence is high at this time, which is really good as we head into league play,” Otis said. “Now we just need to use that confidence to keep rolling through league, and to be where we want come late October.”
Whatever ends up happening the rest of the way this fall, it’s bound to be only a preliminary chapter in a softball career that has all the early makings of greatness.
“Her intangibles are unbelievable,” said Corona Angels coach and founder Marty Tyson, who over the past 18 years has worked with the nation’s top prep softball talent. “With her work ethic, her energy and her athleticism, the sky is the limit to what she’s going to be able to achieve.”
Columbine freshman Korbe Otis has had a big hand — both in the circle and in the box — in her team’s success this year.