One of the leaders of the CSU club baseball team who was instrumental in winning three national championships in the last five years played in his final game at City Park in Fort Collins last weekend.
Third baseman Josh Ary, from Canon City, Colo., will graduate in May with a degree in business administration, leaving a hole on the left side of the diamond that will be difficult for the Rams to fill next year.
â€œJosh is the face of this program,â€ CSU coach Matt Reed said. â€œHeâ€™s a phenomenal player, a phenomenal person, a great leader, and heâ€™s gonna be missed.â€
The series last weekend against Northern Colorado could have been the last games Ary played as a Ram.
CSU went into the last game of the four-game home stand with a chance to either clinch the Mid-America West division and secure their spot in the postseason with a win, or leave the door open for Northern Colorado to take the division with a loss.
It was only after a two-run homerun by Austin-Davidson Pray in the bottom of the sixth inning Sunday afternoon that the Rams clinched the division and ensured they will be playing more baseball this summer.
â€œThat was a great piece of hitting,â€ Ary said. â€œIt was deserved, all the work heâ€™s put in and weâ€™ve put in as a unit, just to see that pay off from someone … you wouldnâ€™t typically think would hit a homerun. Itâ€™s something special.â€
Ary, who led the Rams in homeruns the past two seasons, will now be able to play out the postseason with the Rams through the summer, along with pitcher Mark Rivet and center fielder Matt Kurtz, who will also be graduating in May.
For Ary, the thing he has enjoyed the most throughout his baseball career is the relationships heâ€™s made with his teammates.
â€œIâ€™m just gonna miss being part of this team,â€ Ary said. â€œI love all these guys. Itâ€™s my fraternity. Theyâ€™re my brothers, and itâ€™s something special. Anyone whoâ€™s played competitive sports knows that itâ€™s a brotherhood, and Iâ€™m gonna miss that the most.â€
When his time at CSU has finally ended, Ary said he has thought about the possibility of trying out for a professional team to see if he can make it to the next level.
â€œI talked to Josh about it the other day,â€ said Nick Childs, who played with Ary from 2009-2011 and is now an assistant coach for CSU.
â€œHeâ€™s a great baseball player; he hits so well. Heâ€™s matured so much that itâ€™d be fun to see where he could continue to progress because every year he gets better and better.â€
For now, Ary and the rest of the Rams will focus on advancing in the regional round of the postseason in order to extend their dreams of winning a fourth national title in the last five years.
â€œThereâ€™s a lot of emotions going on right now,â€ Ary said. â€œJust to be part of this program is something special; thereâ€™s a lot of history. Itâ€™s good to go out on top on this field, but workâ€™s not done.
â€œWeâ€™re not done at all yet.â€
Club sports Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Â· Position: Third Base
Â· Hometown: CaÃ±on City, Colo.
Â· Class: Senior
Â· Major: Business Administration