Catchers need to be tough. They have to sacrifice their bodies. They need to block the plate to keep that tying run from scoring. They need to be willing to get a few bruises crouching behind the plate, where the action is heavy.
Hickman freshman catcher Katlyn Britt does all those things and more.
When Britt decided to switch positions two years ago, the obvious choice was catcher.
“She’s the kind of kid that will sacrifice her body to block a ball,” coach Courtney Haskell said. “She hustles all the time. As a coach, that’s what you want to see.”
Growing up, Britt was pitching rather than behind the plate.
“I got tired of pitching,” Britt said. “I decided it was too much pressure. But I didn’t want to quit softball. I still loved the game. So I decided to try catching,”
Britt has adjusted to the position well, despite the relative inexperience not only as a catcher, but also in high school softball. Britt’s batterymate, pitcher Taylor Cowan, is also a freshman. The two are still learning the ways of high school softball, but Haskell has been pleased with the way the two freshman have worked this season.
“Taylor and (Britt) work well together defensively,” Haskell said. “Katlyn knows Taylor and what she’s usually going to do.”
Again on Tuesday in the Kewpies’ 2-0 loss, Cowan allowed a minimal amount of runners to reach base. If anyone did, Britt was there to make sure she didn’t advance.
“My job is to keep the basepaths clear,” Britt said. “Then when runners are on base, I try to block everything Taylor throws, so that no runners move up.”
Britt’s game is defined by hustle. The freshman plays the game as hard as any other player on the field.
During a Hickman game last week, Britt was stung in the facemask by a foul tip. After a quick break, which eventually ended in a smile across her face, Britt was climbing the fence for a foul ball during the next at-bat.
“I want to show this team that I want this varsity spot,” Britt said. “And I have to prove to them that I deserve it.”
Britt shows the team by her outstanding work ethic, not only in games but also in practice, that she’s going to give it her all on every play.
“She’s always diving all over the place,” Haskell said. “She’s always the dirtiest one on the field.”
Haskell knew she had something special when she saw Britt playing in a basketball game. She quickly noticed Britt’s effort and how she played the game.
“She’s always had the work ethic,” Haskell said. “She did the same thing when I saw her play basketball. She’s just a competitor.”