On Tuesday, the sounds of pinging bats and high velocity balls hitting gloves were drowned out by the words “nice job” and “good play” emerging from the players. Snow whistled across the infield, making the practice comparable to the scene in a snow globe on a child’s nightstand. Practice doesn’t stop for the weather and the women of the softball team continue fielding an endless number of balls, not phased by the frigid snowstorm.
Today the team will be engrossed in a warmer climate as they begin the aTEN Construction Tournament in Riverside, Calif. The Rams won their first three games of last weekend’s Hotel Encanto De Las Cruces Tournament but dropped the last two, leaving New Mexico with a 3-3 record.
Going in to the tournament at .500 may sound mediocre, but the team doesn’t see it that way.
“We feel that it’s a clean slate this weekend,” head coach Mary Yori said. “We have assessed where we are and what we need to work on. We can still really build and have a chance to go out and have a great weekend.”
The Rams will play four games over the course of three days this weekend. The team begins and ends with Tulsa, playing them today at 10 a.m. and again Sunday at 11 a.m. On Saturday the Rams will test their skills against San Diego and UC Riverside at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.
“They’re all quality teams,” Yori said. “Tulsa (has) picked up a couple of good wins. But really at this time of year we really try to focus on us.”
The Rams will have to concentrate on improving their pitching and defense this weekend if they wish to return to Fort Collins 7-3. In their final game of last weekend’s tournament the team saw the Ohio State Buckeyes put 11 runs on the board and take the game.
But the softball team is aware of how it needs to improve and they hope they can develop those areas early in the season.
“We’re working on getting all aspects of our game to come together as one,” said junior right fielder Kayla Kreutzman. “What we have to concentrate on the most is just being consistent.”
The team may lack consistency but stressed it does not lack communication or support. Even in drills, the players congratulate one another with glove slaps and shout faithful words across the field, in the hopes that the team has a cohesion in sport where each play is different and requires various players on the field to be on the same page.
“We’re working on communicating everyday,” said junior left fielder Sarah Sullivan. “We can get through all different types of adversity. We know that we’ll all be behind each other, every play, every moment, of each game.”
Sportswriter Keith Robertson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.