BOONE —Bayley Plummer could be considered an enforcer for the Appalachian State women’s basketball team.
Plummer, Appalachian State’s 6-foot-4 center, led the Sun Belt Conference last season in rebounding by pulling down an average of 12.9 boards per game. Plummer also averaged 7.6 points per game during the 2018-19 season.
But Plummer put basketball aside at the Will Dicus Memorial Baseball Tournament. Instead of wearing her familiar black and gold basketball uniform, Plummer put on the blue and gray uniform of an umpire. She also donned the familiar mask and wore the familiar body armor that an ump uses when working behind the plate.
Plummer has become a popular umpire at the Dicus Tournament. On June 15, she worked several games at the Watauga Parks and Rec Complex fields, mostly behind the plate. She worked games at the tournament in 2018 and worked regular-season games in 2019 for the Watauga Parks and Recreation Department.
“I really enjoy it,” Plummer said. “I found the tournament fun to umpire, so it kills time and I can make some money.”
Plummer played softball while growing up in Thomasville and considered playing in college. She was a standout basketball player at East Davison High School and decided to play basketball at App State instead.
Plummer said umpiring baseball allows her to stay close to both baseball and softball.
“I already knew a lot about softball and baseball,” Plummer said. “I can’t play baseball or softball any more, so I’ll be an umpire.”
Simple word-of-mouth got Plummer into the Dicus tournament. Bill Dicus, co-tournament director, said an umpire got sick during the final weekend of the 2018 tournament and was unavailable to work.
Watauga Parks and Recreation Director Stephen Poulos recommended Plummer to step in and umpire that day and she impressed Dicus immediately.
“We contacted her and we saw her work and found that this young lady is really good,” Dicus said. “She commands the field and all that. I was watching her umpire for two games that Sunday afternoon and I knew she was exactly who we wanted.”
Dicus said when he was looking for umpires for the 2019 tournament, Plummer’s name was at the top of his list.
“She was one of the first, if not the first, that we called,” Dicus said. “A lot of times when there are umpires who are younger, they are either intimidated out there, or they spend all their time making sure everybody knows they are in charge, and neither one of those is a great attribute for an umpire. Bayley is neither one of those people. She went out and did her job and ran the game and I was just really impressed with her.”
Plummer was busy working on other things during her summer months before she got into umpiring. After attending classes during several summer sessions at App State, Plummer received her degree in criminal justice in May. She has turned her academic attention to working on earning her master’s degree in public administration and would like to work in law enforcement.
“I have a year and a half left, so I’ll play my final year of basketball,” she said. “I’ll finish up my masters in my next year and a half next year and then hopefully join the Highway Patrol,” Plummer said.
Since Plummer earned her bachelor’s degree a year early, she could have left App State, gone to another program and taken graduate courses while playing her final season of eligibility. She chose to stay at App State and feels the 2019-20 season can be a good one for the Mountaineers.
“I love Appalachian,” Plummer said. “I would never transfer to another school. I’m working on my master’s, I love the community and I love my friends there. I would never think about transferring from there. Appalachian is my home.”
Plummer said being a good rebounder takes more than just being in the right place at the right time. There is preparing while the play is developing and being in the right position when the shot goes up, which helps her get an idea of where the ball is going to bounce off the rim when the shot goes up.
Plummer said working on her scoring going into the 2019-20 season will be important, especially since Madi Story won’t be there to contribute points.
“I need to top off some other areas of my game,” Plummer admitted. “I need to score more and work on my free throws, which were horrendous. I have one more year to turn that around and finish strong.”
Plummer has high hopes for the 2019-2020 Mountaineers. Appalachian State will not have Story on its roster, but most of the other players return.
“We’re mainly just replacing Madi,” Plummer said. “We have a lot of people back. She is really the main one that we lost. We have some freshmen coming in and we have some sophomores, so I think it’s going to be an interesting year.”
Plummer said there is an attitude of unfinished business after the Mountaineers broke through to win the Women’s Basketball Invitational tournament, capped with a 76-59 victory over North Texas in front of 1,823 fans at the Holmes Center. App State finished 22-14 overall, 10-8 and in fifth place in the Sun Belt Conference, and has other tournaments than the WBI on its radar.
“The WBI was good,” Plummer said. “That was our goal for that year, but we’ve got to have a higher goal. We’ve got to shoot for something higher. Our goal is definitely to match that and match those wins, but get a few more. The NCAA or the NIT is definitely what we’re shooting for.”