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ND Softball: Senior catcher Wright provides leadership

Laura Coletti | Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Between planning her wedding and working for a public relations firm in San Diego, Irish senior catcher Kristina Wright will be busy after graduation. But there are still a few more things left to accomplish on the senior’s athletic to-do list before that time comes, including bringing a national championship to Notre Dame — a perfect graduation gift to herself.

“[A national championship] is our ultimate goal this year, and we work hard every day to get there,” Wright said. “I want to spend time and have fun with the girls on the team. I want to have a good year and play well.”

Wright, who was reluctant to play catcher when her high school coach first tried her out at the position, now relishes any chance she has at throwing out a player trying to steal a base.

“It’s such a rush and it’s the best feeling when you know you were faster than the runner,” she said.

But there are other less enviable responsibilities of the position, especially calling an even balance of balls and strikes during practice.

“It’s my least favorite thing about catching,” Wright said. “Trying to help the pitchers when they are throwing makes the batters kind of mad, so you have to have the right balance.”

Though Notre Dame (1-4) is off to a rocky start, Wright is trying to reestablish herself as Notre Dame’s go-to player behind the plate. She started 56 games in 2010 as a sophomore, calling the pitches for then-junior Jody Valdivia, who finished as Big East Pitcher of the Year. In two starts so far this season, she has recorded nine putouts and a perfect fielding percentage.

“She is playing like she’s got nothing to lose, and it’s always nice to see a senior playing like that,” Irish coach Deanna Gumpf said. “She’s not playing with a chip on her shoulder, but with a new sense of drive and determination.”

Along with their athletic endeavors, Wright and her teammates are active philanthropically during their free time. They routinely perform community service by visiting schools and putting on softball clinics.

“These clinics are awesome because it reminds you of why we play softball,” Wright said. “[The girls] love the game so much and they are all so excited to be there and to get better, and we all use that as a kind of inspiration. Sometimes we can take the game for granted because we are out there every day, but it’s nice to see how much they love softball and how that was us when we were little.”

The Irish return to the diamond this weekend as they look to right the ship, competing in the North Carolina Invite on Saturday and Sunday against Penn State, North Carolina and Minnesota.

 

Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu