SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

April 11, 2014

Fast Pitches: McBride, a guiding force for Danvers

It’s understandable why spectators have a tendency to key in on the pitcher during a softball game. The eye-catching windup and art of the quick release are usually the most interesting actions happening on the field during a seven inning contest.

Most folks don’t seem to notice what the catcher is doing, unless it’s necessary for an in-game conference with the pitcher.

But a team’s catcher is much more than just a target for the pitcher to throw to. More often than not, coaches have the utmost confidence in their backstops to keep the game in control and keep the players on the field involved.

It’s also the job of most catchers to keep their pitcher calm and, more importantly, call the game. Coaches have the same confidence in their catchers to call the correct pitches as catchers do in their pitchers to throw the correct pitch.

“Catchers are the backbone of the defense,” said Beverly head coach Megan Sudak, a former catcher for the Panthers. “They can make or break a game. They see the game from the closest view as the coaches do because they face the other direction than everyone else. They should be efficient as well as motivating, in terms of knowing their pitcher and understanding how to motivate the infield.”

Danvers junior Caitlin McBride just started her second season behind the plate. As a freshman she started at third base for the Falcons before behind the dish a year ago, catching all 21 of her team’s games.

During her time at third base she watched then-teammate and three-year starting catcher Sam DiBella (now at Endicott College) progress into a leader on the field. Now a leader and captain for the Falcons herself, McBride had a chance a to develop her arm by constantly throwing from third base to first on routine grounders, which now helps with throwing out baserunners who are trying to steal.

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