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ND Softball: Buntin acts as quiet example

Katie Heit | Thursday, April 11, 2013

Though not as vocal as many of her teammates, senior catcher Amy Buntin leads by example from behind the plate.

“I am not overly vocal,” Buntin said. “I don’t resort to emotional pregame pump-up speeches, but I’m always striving to do the right thing and always looking for ways to better myself.”

Senior pitcher Brittany O’Donnell said Buntin doesn’t need to be heard to lead the younger teammates, because the experience she’s gained from four years in an Irish uniform speaks for itself.

“Her level of play and work ethic speaks for itself,” O’Donnell said. “For a catcher to endure the days and never complain is a special person. I’m proud to call her my teammate.”

Buntin has supported the team in a variety of ways during her time with the Irish. As a freshman she filled in wherever she was needed, playing part of the season in right field after former teammate Dani Miller got hurt. As a sophomore she filled in as an outfielder, a designated hitter and a catcher.

Finally, in her junior season Buntin earned her big break, taking her spot as a starting catcher. She was named to the All-America team at the end of the season and led the Irish at the plate with a .360 batting average.

“Over the past four years I’ve developed a lot as a player and a person,” Buntin said. “I have established my confidence in the batter’s box and behind the plate.”

As a senior, Buntin has continued to dominate behind the plate and builds up the confidence of her pitchers.

“It’s awesome to be able to throw to someone who knows me so well as a pitcher,” O’Donnell said. “We are always on the same page when it comes to attacking hitters.”

Buntin said she focuses on getting to know each pitcher’s style so she can better assist them in improving their game.

“Each pitcher is different,” Buntin said. “As a catcher it has been my job to work with and understand these differences.”

Despite all of her accomplishments on the field, Buntin said the most important thing she has done as a member of the Irish community is play in the Strike Out Cancer weekend in support of Tatum Gumpf, the daughter of Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf. Tatum was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 at the age of four and the Irish began the event in her name the following spring.

“For our team to take part in something greater than ourselves and give back to a cause greater than our sport is truly special,” Buntin said. “Receiving the first pitch of the game from a smiling, healthy Tatum is one of my proudest moments as a player at Notre Dame.”

The fourth annual Strike Out Cancer weekend will take place this Saturday, when the Irish take on Rutgers in a doubleheader.

Though Buntin has prepared to pursue a career in medicine after graduation, she said she will never fully leave Notre Dame behind.

“Notre Dame will always have a special place in my heart,” Buntin said. “I am proud to say it’s my home.”

Contact Katie Heit at  kheit@nd.edu