Daily 49er

Warming up with Monique Dyer, LBSU softball’s bullpen catcher

Being a bullpen catcher means going unnoticed, being under-appreciated.

Nicca Panggat, Contributing Writer

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The role of a bullpen catcher is simple: help the team’s pitchers warm up before they step into the circle.

Yet, despite carrying many of the same responsibilities as regular catchers, those who work in the bullpen often walk around unrecognized. Because they are recruited solely to fulfill one specific role, most never actually get to have any playing time.

For the Long Beach State softball team, sophomore Monique Dyer fills that role with unselfishness and dedication, according to her coach and teammates. Senior right-hander Amanda Hansen called Dyer the most team-oriented player she has ever come across.

“She is all about helping others and making them better,” Hansen said. “Even when she doesn’t play she makes sure she’s the loudest one in the dugout. [She] makes sure she’s the most energetic, and is doing everything she can to support the team.”

Dyer is the same as any other player: she wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and drives to campus for practice. To maintain her grades, any class work assigned during travel games is either done in advance or made up immediately upon her return.

She puts in an hour in the weight room before training and an equal amount of effort into conditioning, doing whatever is asked of her for the betterment of the team.

“People don’t realize the difference that [catchers] make in making pitchers look good and getting the most out of pitchers,” head coach Kim Sowder said. “It’s definitely a lot of grind-work.”

Dyer’s role requires her to work exclusively with the pitching staff. However, she extends a friendly hand and sage advice to other players on the team.

“She definitely taught me that the best way to handle your pitchers is to communicate with them,” freshman catcher Irma Sanchez said. “[I have to] let them know when they’re doing a great job. She’s taught me to really talk with my pitchers and really try to help them out the best way that we can as catchers.”

It’s a learning experience for everyone involved, according to Dyer. She said she feels the year of experience has made her stronger and a harder worker. 49er softball has taught her a lot that she hopes to pass on.

“Last season I wasn’t as good a catcher as I am now,” Dyer said. “Last year when I first came in I was like ‘alright, I’ve got this.’ I’m in the bullpen and catching pitchers and then realizing they throw 20 [miles per hour] harder than [in high school].”

Sowder, who had never seen Dyer play before coming to LBSU, said she was recruited specifically to be a bullpen catcher and to help balance out the team.

“That was basically her only role that we needed her to do,” Sowder said. “But she wanted to do more than that.”

Being a bullpen catcher means putting in the hard work without any of the same recognition, something Dyer is well aware of.

“People seem to think that just because I’m not a starter, I resent being on the team. I love being on the team,” Dyer said. “Just because I’m not on the field doesn’t mean I didn’t help contribute. You do the work, you’re part of that win. And it’s an important job.”

Sowder had nothing but praise and admiration for the job Dyer does. She called Dyer the ultimate team player.

“She loves Long Beach State,” Sowder said. “She bleeds black and gold, wanted to come to our university and play the game she loves and kind of help out in any role that she could.”

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