Beloit College catcher Emily Dorjath figures to face former Batavia softball batterymate Brooke Nelson during Saturday’s doubleheader against Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Naturally, the looming encounter has prompted thoughts of high school and home, things that haven’t exactly been foremost on Dorjath’s mind lately.
No slight to B-Town or Beloit – strong civilizations on bodies of water in their own right – but Dorjath is a recent resident of the Galapagos Islands. Her fall study abroad destination still resonates and helps provide a backdrop, if not backstop, to what she calls a “unique” group of Bucs.
“We’re a very eclectic, diverse community here, so we have a very quirky team,” Dorjath said. “It’s not your typical softball team or even athletes you would think of.”
Fellow Bucs aspire to be chemists, participate in the school’s drama program and give piano lessons. Beloit staged a production of the locally written “Coward Land” to open its fall theater season; the label hardly stuck on the campus after the final production.
Dorjath, a junior molecular, cellular and integrative biology major, weighed study abroad opportunities in making her college choice. She valued a school that would allow her to pursue academics and athletics at an equally vigorous pace.
A month in Ecuador and three months in the Galapagos Islands offered more diving in the Atlantic Ocean than for errant pitches, but Dorjath quickly immersed herself in softball upon returning home in December.
Starting behind the plate for the third straight season and again enjoying the role of captain, Dorjath is batting .250 with a home run and four RBIs in 11 games. She credits her on-field duties for assisting with off-field matters.
Dorjath is one of just four upperclassmen on the Bucs’ 18-player roster.
“I have always kind of had that leadership role or felt like I’ve had that leadership role, especially being a catcher,” Dorjath said. “You know how to deal with different personality types and get the infield back focused. It’s just trying to show, especially those younger girls, how to play Beloit College softball and what that means and showing that both on and off the field.”
Last season, Dorjath earned honors as the Midwest Conference North Division’s first-team all-conference catcher after leading Beloit in doubles, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. She was second in home runs and RBIs.
While she realizes almost half of her collegiate career remains ahead of her, Dorjath still has taken several steps toward her future. She spent the past two summers studying birds – including a 2012 stint observing condors in California – and will publish a paper with a professor this year.
She plans to apply for veterinary school this summer.
The magnitude of it all struck Dorjath even in the picturesque Galapagos Islands – where activities included diving and observing sharks – though a release through running was close at hand.
“How can you not?” Dorjath said. “It’s a beautiful landscape. I’d pretty much run every day at sunset by the oceanside. Not just to stay in shape for the season, but also it was a nice getaway from everything else. Kind of escape and not worry about everything else that was going on.”
Softball keeps Dorjath on the travel circuit. Parents Dave and Nancie have increased their itineraries, too, now that Dorjath’s younger brother, Will, is a freshman baseball player at Ripon (Wis.), Beloit’s conference rival.
“I don’t blame him, going his different route. He probably doesn’t want to keep following in my footsteps,” Dorjath said.
Considering the points along her recent path and the ones Dorjath has envisioned for the future, she shouldn’t be so sure.