In 2008, Caitlan Stem came to CSU to play softball. Stem isnâ€™t just any other player who came to play, she wanted to be better than that: She wanted to leave her mark on the program.
From there, as they say, the rest was history.
â€œI want my legacy to be that I was one of the best consistently,â€ Stem said.
Maybe we should just call her Consistency Stem, as she has scored 44 runs in three seasons. She also had 64 hits in 2008 and 2009 each, while upping that number to 66 last year.
Stem has 185 career RBIs, good for second all-time at CSU, and not only played in but started 191 games. Add on the remaining 12 from this season and she will have played a total of 203 games bearing the green and gold, putting her third all-time in games started.
Stem enters this weekendsâ€™ play in Utah with the possibility of goingdown as the best softball player in the programâ€™s history.
â€œThese next four weeks I have a lot of ground to cover otherwise Iâ€™m going to be cutting it close,â€ Stem said.
Over the course of the final 12 games this season if Stem can raise her batting, average 18 points, score 10 runs and draw three walks she will be the all-time leader in all three categories.
While having undeniable success in her career individually, team struggles have been something Stem has had to learn to deal with. All of that frustration has come to a head this year.
â€œItâ€™s been disappointing the way that I have reacted to the whole change (of 10 new players and a new head coach) and changing my routine up,â€ Stem said. â€œIâ€™m disappointed at how long it took me to really adapt the way I needed to.â€
With that said, when times are tough, leadership becomes critical to getting a team back on track. Stem is a natural who leads by example.
â€œMy role is really when weâ€™re all together, leading by example, and trying to set an example by my performance or mindset,â€ Stem said.
The leadership role she has taken on this year, as a senior is important to a team that features 10 freshmen playing all the time. If youâ€™re going to learn, you might as well learn from one of the best to
ever play at your institution.
â€œWe need to be able to realize that weâ€™re not going to accept losing. We need to let it hurt, but we need to come back and we need to make it stronger,â€ Stem said. â€œThatâ€™s been really important for me to emphasize to them.â€
How about life after softball for the senior communications major?
Stem said she is hardcore in the job search, and has begun interviewing for jobs. If that doesnâ€™t work out sheâ€™s going to â€œvisit with my parents a little while, just kind of take some vacations and chill out before I enter that adult world.â€
Softball Beat Reporter Travis Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.