With 10 freshmen and a first-year head coach on board, the Rams are eager to start the 2011 season. Tonight the team travels to Las Cruces, N.M., kicking the season off against tournament-host New Mexico State.
The Rams are under the leadership of CSU alumna Jen Fisher, who takes over as head coach. Fisher was hired after a successful three-year tenure at Division-II Metro State in Denver.
The new coach said she plans on bringing that kind of success to Colorado State.
â€œI think by being focused on details and each person being as good as they can be, we can reach our potential,â€ Fisher said.
Fisher takes over for Mary Yori, who resigned last August after 10 seasons at the helm of the program.
The Rams return two all-conference players along with seven letter-winners from last yearâ€™s team. Senior shortstop Caitlan Stem and junior pitcher Kelli Eubanks earned all-Mountain West Conference honors in 2010.
Stem, a native of Broomfield, was the only player to start all 51 games last season and led the Rams with a .372 batting average, good for fifth in the MWC. A strong senior season could make Stem the all-time leader in batting average at CSU.
â€œI would love to break the all-time CSU batting average,â€ said Stem, one of only two seniors on the 2011 roster. â€œI take the leadership role very seriously. I just try to be helpful wherever I can be.â€
With pitcher Kelli Eubanks sidelined with an injury until April, the Rams will lean heavily on sophomore Kelsey Oâ€™Brien in the pitching circle this season.
â€œKelseyâ€™s really feeling like she has a whole year under her belt and sheâ€™s really doing a great job,â€ said Fisher, who went 125-36 at Metro State. â€œSheâ€™s been very consistent â€“â€“ good defense, a good mound presence. I wasnâ€™t here last year, but I thnk a lot of growth happens in your freshman year.â€
Along with Oâ€™Brien, freshmen pitchers Alexa Cash and Desiree Laswell will also be called on to play a bigger role for the team.
This weekendâ€™s Hotel Encanto Invitational is the first of six tournaments the Rams will play this spring. The first home game isnâ€™t until March 4 when they host the Colorado State Classic. MWC conference play begins April 8 at home against UNLV.
Softball Beat Reporter Travis Todd can be reached at email@example.com. _