Sometimes it takes a small spark to ignite a midseason turnaround in sports.
The CSU softball team remains confident despite a tough opening to the season. The Rams hope getting former all-conference junior pitcher Kelli Eubanks back in action will give them a much needed spark.
â€œI think (her experience) can bring a new energy to the team,â€ said Eubanks. â€œWe have a lot of girls on the team who already bring that good positive energy so I feel like, if anything, Iâ€™ll be adding to the good energy we already have on our team.â€
The Rams (6-26) return to the field Saturday after losing 11 of 13 games on a 10-day roadtrip in Florida over spring break. CSU will travel much closer to home this weekend as they head to Greeley to face the UNC Bears (9-23) in a double-header.
Eubanks (1-0) made her first appearance of the season over the break, facing Jacksonville and throwing four innings of no-hit softball while striking out four.
â€œIt felt great. It kind of felt like I hadnâ€™t really skipped a beat, which is always a good feeling,â€ said Eubanks.
With the return of their ace, CSU now has a pitcher that is experienced and can provide the Rams with steady performances from the pitching circle moving forward.
â€œEven just her presence on the mound, regardless of how many strikes sheâ€™s throwing, sheâ€™s a big leader for us,â€ said Fisher. â€œShe does it just in the way that she carries herself. She plays good defense and hammers the zone.â€
Eubanks went 23-13 with a 3.55 earned-run average last year in 45 appearances on her way to becoming an all-MWC performer. Her ERA was good for seventh in the MWC while leading her team in innings pitched, strikeouts and games started.
â€œGetting to see Kelli out there was really a huge pickup for our team,â€ said first-year coach Jen Fisher. â€œSheâ€™s got the leadership and she can demonstrate what weâ€™re asking from the younger kids.â€
Although the Rams have struggled to this point in the season, Fisher believes the attitude of the team remains a positive one.
â€œI really think they have the right approach, that theyâ€™re coming back to the yard every day ready to work and ready to improve,â€ Fisher said. â€œThey know what they need to work on and theyâ€™re really keeping their spirits up.â€
CSU has faced UNC once already this season, an 8-3 win,in the Hotel Encanto Invitational. The Bears are in the midst of a tough stretch, having lost 17 of their last 18 games.
Softball Beat Reporter Travis Todd can be reached at email@example.com.
The Next Game
- Time: 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
- Opponent: Northern
- Where: Greeley, Colo.