Imagine seeing every move on the field, knowing the opposing teams’ batting strengths and weaknesses and calling the perfect play that will give your team the advantage. You must have quick, instinctual judgement that will set the rest of your team in motion until the end of the play. That is the life of a catcher, and junior Bria Madrid knows the role well.
“I was eight years old when I first started catching,” said Madrid. “I just liked getting the ball all the time. That’s what made me like the position when I was younger but then as I got older I liked calling the game more.”
The catcher is both one of the most understated and important roles on the softball field. It requires strong strategic skills and the ability to anticipate the opponent's next move. Since they are the only players that can see the entire field, they must be prepared to act on a moment’s notice.
“I’ve been catching for so long that it’s like second nature to me now,” Madrid said. “You have to know the batter and what and their weaknesses and what pitches are on and working. It’s cool having so much control over where the ball is going to go.”
The pressure of calling the game is Madrid’s favorite part of the position. She loves the small looks exchanged between teammates that come before a big play.
“I like when girls steal,” Madrid said. “I like throwing it down to second and picking off and throwing it to Selena, our first baseman. We have a look we give each other to throw it to her and that’s really fun. I like calling the game.”
Madrid knows that part of being a successful catcher is maintaining a close bond with each of the four pitchers on team. She knows the pitches that will flaunt her pitcher’s strengths and capitalize on the opponent’s weaknesses. The team thrives when the pitcher trusts the catcher to make the right call and keep track of the things that go on behind her back.
“I need to make sure that we are comfortable throwing to me because there is a lot of trust built between pitchers and catchers,” Madrid said. “I think encouraging them and making sure that they are confident.”
Madrid is a valuable asset to her team on defense and a dominant force at bat. Madrid has a total of 24 runs so far in the season and has a batting average of .293. She also has 10 RBI’s and five home runs.
The pressure of calling each play in a tight game is something that would cause most people to crumble. However, for Madrid it’s just business as usual.
“I try to remind myself that it is just another game,” Madrid said. “I’ve played hundreds of games and this isn’t any different. And for the team I try to remind everyone that this is something that we’ve done before and we can do again.”