There are certain characteristics of the catching position that seem to fit Brusly junior Kaitlin David … well, like a catcher’s mitt.
Strong presence behind the plate, astute handler of pitchers, tremendous defensively and consistent run producer in the heart of the batting order.
There’s just one aspect of the job description that David — a three-year starter — has never made her feel quite comfortable in her own catcher’s gear.
“As a catcher, you’re supposed to have a loud mouth,” said the left-handed David. “But I can’t yell. I’m more of the quiet type.”
Regardless of her more subtle approach there’s no denying the impact David’s had on the success of this year’s team which finished the regular season 19-11 and captured the District 7-3A championship with an unblemished record.
Brusly awaits its state playoff opponent when the LHSAA announces its pairings Thursday with the Panthers, a projected No. 7 seed, set to host their first-round game.
“Even though she’s a quiet player, she’s our leader on the field,” Brusly coach Beau Bouvier said. “She’s always willing to improve and comes to practice with a good mindset whether it’s hitting or catching the pitchers.”
One of the biggest traits that’s endeared David to her coaches and teammates is her willingness to shun the spotlight while propping up others, so they can shine.
That selfless nature has almost made David a reluctant star, quick to defer her own contributions for one of Class 3A’s most successful programs to those around her.
“I don’t like to think of myself as the center of the game. I kind of put myself last,” David said. “If someone’s struggling, I want to pick them up.
“I’m so into the game I don’t realize when I may do something good.”
Bouvier has been praising David almost from the day she set foot on campus and locked down the starting catcher’s job to evolving into a two-time, first-team All-District 7-3A pick.
Not only was she distinct as a left-handed catcher, but David was mature beyond her years. Her innate sense of the game convinced Bouvier to hand over pitch-calling duties to David, something he hadn’t done in his five previous seasons.
“She’s done it for three years,” Bouvier said. “She knows what to do. We have complete trust in her calling the pitches. She’s very knowledgeable of her position, our pitchers and their strengths. She knows what to throw to hitters based on where they’re standing in the (batter’s) box.”
David said that it was probably difficult for Bouvier to hand that responsibility. In typical fashion she commended former standout pitcher Carli Jo LeBlanc for making the transition smooth.
“He took a gamble, and I guess he liked how I called pitches,” David said. “At first, I was nervous, but it’s a blast. I love doing it, especially when the pitchers are on and I’ve worked with them long enough. Some of it is luck. You guess right.”
Brusly has been a regular at the LHSAA/Fast Pitch 56 state tournament, highlighted by a state title in 2013, and with David enjoying a stellar season the Panthers are hopeful of reaching such heights again after a quarterfinal exit a year ago.
David, batting third in the lineup, produced a .515 batting average, .585 on-base percentage, 15 doubles with 33 RBIs and only four strikeouts. She also has thrown out approximately 65-70 percent of opponents trying to steal and helped bring along a new pitching staff consisting of two juniors and a sophomore.
“I don’t want the game to be about me,” David said. “When I go in the dugout, I have people telling me good job and shaking my hand. It makes me take a step back and think, ‘Maybe I did do something good for the team.’ ”