Feb 102011
 
Authors: Travis Todd

With 10 freshmen and a first-year head coach on board, the Rams are eager to start the 2011 season. Tonight the team travels to Las Cruces, N.M., kicking the season off against tournament-host New Mexico State.

The Rams are under the leadership of CSU alumna Jen Fisher, who takes over as head coach. Fisher was hired after a successful three-year tenure at Division-II Metro State in Denver.

The new coach said she plans on bringing that kind of success to Colorado State.

“I think by being focused on details and each person being as good as they can be, we can reach our potential,” Fisher said.

Fisher takes over for Mary Yori, who resigned last August after 10 seasons at the helm of the program.

The Rams return two all-conference players along with seven letter-winners from last year’s team. Senior shortstop Caitlan Stem and junior pitcher Kelli Eubanks earned all-Mountain West Conference honors in 2010.

Stem, a native of Broomfield, was the only player to start all 51 games last season and led the Rams with a .372 batting average, good for fifth in the MWC. A strong senior season could make Stem the all-time leader in batting average at CSU.

“I would love to break the all-time CSU batting average,” said Stem, one of only two seniors on the 2011 roster. “I take the leadership role very seriously. I just try to be helpful wherever I can be.”

With pitcher Kelli Eubanks sidelined with an injury until April, the Rams will lean heavily on sophomore Kelsey O’Brien in the pitching circle this season.

“Kelsey’s really feeling like she has a whole year under her belt and she’s really doing a great job,” said Fisher, who went 125-36 at Metro State. “She’s been very consistent –– good defense, a good mound presence. I wasn’t here last year, but I thnk a lot of growth happens in your freshman year.”

Along with O’Brien, freshmen pitchers Alexa Cash and Desiree Laswell will also be called on to play a bigger role for the team.

This weekend’s Hotel Encanto Invitational is the first of six tournaments the Rams will play this spring. The first home game isn’t until March 4 when they host the Colorado State Classic. MWC conference play begins April 8 at home against UNLV.
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Softball Beat Reporter Travis Todd can be reached at sports@collegian.com. _

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