There is an old saying that the catcher is the quarterback of the defense in baseball or softball. A catcher is someone whom a coach can rely on to lead their team and get the job done when asked.
The Yukon softball program made a postseason run to the 6A semifinals and one of the main reasons was the play of catcher Ashlynn Bruce.
Bruce was a stalwart behind the plate for Katy Hoke and the Yukon softball team in 2018. Not only was Bruce strong in the physical side of the position with blocking wild pitches, throwing runners out and using her quick reactions to field short pop ups or bunts, but she excelled in the mental aspect of the game.
The junior was given the freedom to call pitches throughout the season. That is a responsibility not given to high school-aged catchers very often, but Hoke trusted Bruce to call the right pitches and get the Millerettes set up in the right defense.
Bruce also was a key cog in the middle of the batting lineup for Yukon. She was the three-hole hitter the entire year and had an average of .364 with an on base percentage of .429 and a slugging percentage of .697.
Bruce had 36 hits, including 18 singles, nine doubles, six homeruns and three triples with 33 RBIs and was walked eight times.
If Bruce can make another jump going into her senior year next fall like the one she made from her sophomore to junior seasons, it will be hard to find a better catcher in the state in 2019.