Feb. 21, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Sophomore MaryBeth Pavlick plays a unique role on the Purdue softball team that of pinch runner and bullpen catcher. While she may not get all the glory of a starter, the catcher, affectionately known as "Mega", was recognized for her hard work and dedication with the Unsung Hero Award at the 2011 softball banquet. Get to know what makes her tick and how she got such a unique nickname in this week's featured Q&A.
What do you feel your expectations are as a sophomore class?
This year, especially with the big freshmen class coming in, and not having very many upperclassmen, it's definitely important that as a class we step up and become leaders this year so we can set an example for the freshmen on and off the field.
What was the most challenging transition you had to make your freshman year here at Purdue?
I think the most challenging transition was getting used to the sizes of some of the general freshmen level classes and also getting used to being in a bigger school. My high school only had about 1,000 kids in it, so coming to a school with 40,000 kids walking around was kind of a shock.
What is the best advice you can give the incoming freshman class in order to be successful here?
Definitely to use your planner for everything, stay organized, work really hard on your school work and stay ahead with your homework.
How has your role on the team changed now that you are not a freshman anymore?
I definitely have more of a leadership role this year with eight freshmen coming in. We went from having five catchers last year to three of us this year, so I have a bigger role of being behind the plate this year, and I still have the same role as last year with a lot of base running too.
What is your main personal goal for the season?
As a catcher what is it like working with so many different pitchers?
I think my personal goal for the season would be to improve my play behind the plate, especially with my throws to second, and just to become a more consistent player all around.
Absolutely, I love working with all the different pitchers. With every pitcher that we have, I have my favorite pitch of theirs, and the one I like to call a lot. They all have a lot of different things that work well for them, so it's nice to have a variety in our staff.
You did a lot of bullpen catching last year, what keeps you motivated to stick with it when you aren't always on the field in a game situation?
I love my teammates, and I will fill any role that I need to on the team, whether it's in the bullpen or on the field running the bases. Whatever role needs to be filled, I'm content with that. I just want to help make my teammates better every day at practice and make the team better.
?You spent a lot of time on the base paths last year as a pinch runner, how do you stay engaged in the game waiting for coach to call for you to go in? Do you have any tricks for base running?
During the game you really never know when you're going to be called up so you really just have to pay attention and be involved in the game and know what the situations are. To me, I think it's easy to stay involved because you are cheering for your teammates that are out there and whoever is up to bat or whoever is pitching. There is always something going on, so there is always something to pay attention to.
As far as tricks for base running, base running is a lot of instinct and anticipating what's going to happen and knowing the situations so my advice is just to always be aware of what inning it is, how many outs there are and who is in front of you or behind you at the base paths and who's up to bat. Those are all big things to think about. You're not just going to take off every time the ball is hit.
Your nickname is "Mega", how did that come to be? Do you think it suits you?
Last year, in the fall, Coach Maher decided that MaryBeth wasn't an intimidating enough name. So she started to try rhyming my name with things, and Megadeath rhymes with Mary Beth. It got shortened to Mega pretty soon after that. Some of the girls will still call me Megadeath occasionally, but now it's mostly Mega. I think it suits me; I've grown into it. I like it because even though I'm one of the shortest ones on the team, in the weight room I'm definitely a "mega" so I think it suits me there, and as a catcher it's also a good nickname.
What is your guilty pleasure? A TV show, book, song or food you can't live without?
I love Grey's Anatomy. It is absolutely my favorite show, and it is probably the only show that I really make sure I watch every time it's on and it's new.
If you could plan your last meal, what would you eat and who would you spend that time with?
I would probably have steak and spaghetti, probably some cheerios too, those are my favorite. I'd probably also just spend that time with my family, my Mom, Dad and Grandma.
What is something about you that most people don't know?
A lot of people don't know that I'm a twin, because it doesn't really come up a lot. My brother doesn't go here (to Purdue); he goes to the University of Cincinnati. It's not something that comes up in conversation a lot, so when it does people always freak out that I didn't tell them. But, you don't just add "Oh yeah and I'm a twin" into the middle of the conversation.
What song is on your iPod that might surprise your friends and teammates?
Well, I love Broadway musicals. In high school I played orchestra for all of our musicals, and I played trumpet in them, so I have all those soundtracks on my iPod. Those might surprise some people.
How would you describe yourself to a stranger?
I don't really like to talk about myself, so I'd probably just say I play softball, I'm an engineer, I'm Christian and I love my friends and my family.
We hear you put in a lot of time in the weight room and in conditioning workouts, what are your favorite and least favorite parts?
I really like when we max out because I like to see how big I can go. I also like it because it's not something I get to do very often, and, since we need our coaches around to do it, it's a nice way to see legitimate proof of how you've improved from last year. I hate RDLs though. They are one of our platform lifts. It's just hamstring work, but it cramps up my hamstrings pretty bad, so that's probably my least favorite part.