After spending spring break playing in tournaments, the CSU softball team will return to series play with a double header Saturday.
The Rams (17-11) face the Northern Colorado Bears (7-28) at noon in Greeley. One of the players taking the field Saturday will be senior first baseman and Fort Collins native Julia Kloppe, who leads the conference in batting with players with at least 50 at bats with a .411 average.
Kloppe, a human development and family studies major, has been playing softball since she was 6 years old. Fifteen years later, Kloppe still loves the game and hopes to continue her career in softball as a collegiate coach when she is done with school.
“I love the competitive side of the sport. It is a team sport that is controlled by everyone personally.” Kloppe said. “I also love the team camaraderie that comes with being on a team like this.”
Like many student-athletes, Kloppe finds it hard to get everything done with school and softball.
“I (would) like to be able to focus only on softball,” she said. “But that is not an option.”
Kloppe has been a significant contributor to this year’s Rams’ potent offense, which ranks first in the conference with a .302 team average. Kloppe has 26 hits, which ranks her fifth on the team, and 16 RBIs, third on the team.
Last season Kloppe played in 53 games for CSU. And in last season’s series against Northern Colorado, she drove in a season-best four runs by hitting a grand slam.
In 2006, Kloppe played in 46 games, starting 43. She ranked 13th in the Mountain West with a batting average of .346.
Her freshman year, Kloppe started 40 games, batting .317, earning her all-MWC honors.
Kloppe played high school softball at Rocky Mountain High School, where she led the Lobos to city and district championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. She holds a unique school record there, being the only player to hit a softball out of the park, which she did four times during her high school career.
Next week, Kloppe and the Rams will open conference play against Utah Thursday in Salt Lake City at 2 p.m
Sports writer Rachel Knox-Stutsman can be reached at email@example.com.