Catching on: Kellogg backstopping the Bengals
by Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor
Photos: Buffalo State Athletics
It’s one of the toughest positions on the field. Being a catcher is not easy. You need to be a special kind of person to want to put on the gear and get behind the plate.
Catchers take a beating every single game. They constantly are taking follow tips or having opposing runners slide into them as they try to score. They are also one of the leaders of the team.
They take control on the field, especially with the pitching the staff. They are looked at by others to lead the team. They are excepted to help lead the offense when they get up to bat. A lot is riding on the position, and only a few can handle all the pressure that comes with it.
Buffalo State softball player Deme Kellogg didn’t look out of place when she stepped foot on campus last year. The now sophomore had a big freshman year for the Bengals as she played one of the tougher positions on the field.
“Coming in as a freshman I was very nervous, because this was all so new to me,” stated Kellogg. “But, having my coaches and teammates make me feel so welcomed was the key to helping my confidence and improving my skills.”
Being able to be a steady influence behind the plate went a long way for Kellogg. You never know how a freshman is going to react when coming into college. But, Kellogg, proved that she belonged with some of the best players in the league.
As a freshman, Kellogg needed to get on the same page with the rest of the pitchers. She didn’t have extra time like she would have had if being an older player. So, she needed to get up to speed as quick as possible to make sure her and the pitching staff were on the same page.
“Getting behind the plate every game is so special. My biggest job is to do everything I can to make my pitchers look good. I do take some beatings but that’s all part of the position. The bruises show the hard work you put in back there,” stated Kellogg. “During preseason we pitch outside of practices 2 times a week and I catch for someone different each day. This is the most crucial time to get to know your pitches, find out their best pitches, what I can do to help them when the pitch isn’t thrown where it is supposed to be. Having a special bond with your pitcher will benefit both of you during games.”
If you see Kellogg on the field you can tell right away she has the “IT” factor. Players gravitate toward her, and she has command on the field. That’s why it wasn’t a surprise when she was named as one of the captains this year.
It’s a big honor to be named a captain just in general, but Kellogg has been named one during her sophomore season. It shows that the coaching staff has a lot of respect for her to help lead the team to the goals they have set forward for the year.
“Being named captain was an honor. This team means absolutely everything to me and for me to be able to lead my teammates by example is the best way to lead. I want the best for every one of my teammates and push everyone to their best potential,” stated Kellogg. “I don’t think I have to change my approach. I just am going to continue to be myself because that is what got me into the position of being a captain.”
Being one of the leaders on the team, Kellogg is expected to lead both defensively and offensively. She is expected to produce when called on. Slumps are part of the game, but Kellogg knows you can’t bring your troubles to the plate, if you’re having a bad game behind the dish, or vice versus.
It is something that she is trying to manage for herself as she starts her sophomore season. How to manage the expectations that she puts on herself every single day when she puts on the Bengals’ uniform.
“This is something I am currently overcoming because it is hard to balance both if you’re not
producing at the plate or not having my best game behind the plate in the field,” stated Kellogg. “The biggest thing I have to remind myself of is that you can’t have the domino effect and let one effect the other. My main job is catching and that is currently my main focus. My hitting will fall into place with time, and just being positive about my skills will help with this a lot.”
Now that she has a season under belt, Kellogg knows she will need to make adjustments as her sophomore season begins. Last year, no one knew how to come at her at the plate. Now, teams have a book on how to attach her.
It’s up to Kellogg to keep making those adjustments and to stay one step ahead of the opposing pitchers.
“You can always continue to learn and get better. In the off season I did a lot of hitting with my Dad. We would go 2-3 times a week and go hit at our local dome back at home. With catching, I was working on blocking side to side cause that is something I can always get better at. You always have to be prepared for a ball you think is going one way but ends up tailing the other way,” stated Kellogg. “Being flexible and making adjustments will be very beneficial to me throughout the year. You never know what information the other teams will have on you so you always have to be ready for anything.”
Being ready for anything also means staying healthy for the season There is no questions that catchers take the most abuse during the year. Staying healthy is not an easy thing to do. Kellogg credits the training staff at Buffalo State for helping her stay healthy throughout last season, especially because the team plays a lot of game sin a short amount of time.
That means a lot of doubleheaders and a lot of kneeling behind home plate.
“Being a catcher does take a huge toll on your body especially because we play so many games in a short amount of time. Our trainers at Buffalo State are amazing and are always helping you find ways to relieve the soreness,” stated Kellogg. “We also have an ice bath ,which I usually get in 2-3 times a week after practice or lifts. Foam rolling, drinking lots of water and eating healthy are also some of the key factors to staying healthy.”