St. Joseph’s catcher Dylan Broderick talked with his coaches about a potential position switch around September.
The Wolves needed to fill the void left at catcher after Justin Beck graduated, and they didn’t have a natural replacement. The coaches asked Broderick, a middle infielder with experience catching in Little League, to take over behind the plate. Broderick agreed, and St. Joseph’s head coach Greg Herman called Broderick “the key to our season” going into the year.
The Wolves junior showed his value in the team’s 8-1 win over Bald Eagle Area on Wednesday. Broderick went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and worked with starting pitcher Bryce Herman to put together a dominant performance on the mound.
“He’s a phenomenal ballplayer,” Greg Herman said. “I love him as a ballplayer. He’s awesome.”
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Bryce Herman limited BEA to two hits and struck out eight in a complete game to earn the win, helping the Wolves improve their record to 7-3 this season. The Eagles, meanwhile, slipped to 3-9 after committing six errors in addition to struggling at the plate.
“We didn’t play good defense and we didn’t hit, so can’t expect to win,” BEA coach Jim Gardner said. “They were relentless and kept battling at the plate until they made some things happen.”
Broderick provided the spark offensively. With two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth inning, the St. Joseph’s catcher dropped a single into right field to drive in two runs and give the Wolves a 3-1 lead. He came through again in the top of the sixth, driving in another run on a single to right field. That run sparked a big five-run inning.
And, as he has all season, Broderick looked smooth behind the plate. He started working with assistant coach Jim Dinsmore in December on developing his skills after agreeing to make the switch.
“It’s just a sacrifice you got to make if you want your team to win,” Broderick said.
Broderick knew the basics from his Little League days and impressed his pitcher during the offseason.
“It didn’t even look like he hadn’t done a lot of catching before,” Bryce Herman added.
Broderick has focused on blocking balls in the dirt and calling pitches to shut down opposing hitters, and both skills were on display Wednesday.
In the bottom of the fourth, with St. Joseph’s ahead 3-1, Broderick knocked down a pitch in the dirt on a dropped third strike, then threw to first to record the out. Throughout the game, he developed a strategy with Bryce Herman, watching the swings of the Bald Eagle Area hitters and attacking their weaknesses.
“He’s everything that you could ask for a in a catcher,” Bryce Herman said.
Greg Herman called Broderick a “natural” at catcher, defensively.
He knows how to handle all of his pitchers, playing the role of “psychologist” at times. Bryce Herman said he’s often on the same page with Broderick’s pitch calls, and Broderick said his pitcher made it easy Wednesday as he breezed through seven innings with an effective mix of his fastball, curveball and offspeed pitches.
“They make me look good,” Broderick said. “I make them look good.”
Broderick enjoys playing catcher now. He can see everything and control the game from the position as he’s seamlessly filled the Wolves’ biggest offseason hole.
“Behind the plate, he’s a magician,” Greg Herman said.