One of the biggest obstacles facing the CSU women’s softball team this fall season is to keep the intensity level high.
According to head coach Mary Yori, the Rams came out flat against Montana State on Sunday at Rams field, which led the teams to split the double-header.
“In the first game we weren’t playing with much intensity,” Yori said. “That is usually what happens in the fall.”
The Rams will look to pick up the intensity Saturday at the Nebraska Fall Classic in Omaha, Neb., where they will play five games in two days.
“We’ll play Oklahoma City University, Kansas and Nebraska on Saturday,” Yori said. “We’ll play two of those teams again on Sunday depending on the outcomes of Saturday’s games.”
Yori said she plans to utilize the same game plan she used against Montana State by pulling players in and out to get the entire team ample playing time.
“We’ll definitely switch players around throughout the games,” she said. “We play five (games) so everyone should get playing time.”
With some of the team’s younger players – such as freshman pitchers Genevieve Kelly and JayCee Wood – getting some game-time experience last weekend, Yori said she expects the team to increase its intensity level a notch.
“We expect the intensity to improve,” she said. “I expect (the players) to be more competitive as a team and individually at the plate.”
With the fall softball season not carrying the impact record-wise on the spring season, it is difficult for some players to keep a strong mental perspective on the outcome, said senior outfielder Katie Koch.
“It’s not a scrimmage or an exhibition,” Koch said of the fall season. “Coaches shift players in and out a lot to get a look at different players in different situations. Sometimes there is just a lapse in concentration.”
Though its too early to judge how far the Rams will go when the regular season begins in spring 2003, Yori said she is pleased with the way the freshman have come along and with the progress of the team’s second- and third-year players.
As opposed to last season -when the Rams started an infield composed almost entirely of freshman – this year’s team will feature an infield of experienced players, something that leaves Yori beaming.
“All of our infielders are returning this season,” Yori said. “We have made some changes position-wise, but right now it is the most solidified part of the team.”
The solid infield – consisting of senior Jen Mahoney at third base, sophomore Brittany Burtner at shortstop, sophomore Steph Roberts at second base, junior Ricky Walker at first base and sophomore Kerry Farrell at catcher – should help carry the team to new heights in the future, Yori said.
Furthermore, with the additions of freshmen Wood, Kelly, Melanie Laffoon, Katie Dean and Jennifer Gardner, the team should increase its pop at the plate as well as its overall team speed, Yori added.
“They’re coming along well,” she said of the fab-five. “With those first games under their belts, hopefully they can settle their nerves and be more relaxed.”