Apr 272012
 
Authors: Kyle Grabowski

Last year, the CSU softball team won eight games under first year coach Jen Fisher with a team that consisted largely of freshmen.

“We had to come together as players and be close as friends in order to get through that,” sophomore infielder Kendal Butterfield said.

Fisher helped facilitate that success by providing a constant, stabilizing presence throughout the season regardless of the result on the field.

“She understood that we didn’t have pitching and it was her first year to build,” senior Lyssa Roberts said. “It meant a lot to know we had a coach that was consistent. This year she’s the same way.”

This season, wins and consistency came for CSU. The Rams have compiled an overall record of 22-22, and already claim more conference wins in two series than all of last year.

“It was really hard last year because the system was new to everybody,” Fisher said. “We can try to get that in as fast as possible, but at some point you have to let time be time.”

The players understood more of Fisher’s system from the beginning, while an influx of new talent helped push CSU’s pitching staff to another level. Fisher brought in three transfer pitchers in Kacie McCarthy, Kailey Snyder and Kali Hass who have combined to win all but one of the Rams’ games this year.

“Our pitching staff is much deeper, so we’re able to hit live more often,” Fisher said. “We have a lot of different pitchers we can go to, and they’re all throwing strikes.”

CSU’s quick turnaround can also be attributed to an increase in senior leadership.

“To be honest, I’m not sure that was there last year,” Roberts said. “Or the girls have embraced it more than they did last year.”

In embracing the leadership role, Roberts began to enjoy playing softball more than she had in previous years.

“My first two years here I couldn’t wait to be done,” she said. “When coach Fisher came in it changed the whole atmosphere, and I learned to love the game again.”

The foundation for success has been laid, and Fisher’s future goal is for the program to continue to rise and eventually become one of the top tier teams in the country.

“We need a little bit more depth, more consistent competition and our pitching could be a little bit sharper,” Fisher said. “The teams that you see that are top-20 teams have pitching that can really run the table.”

And she has her team believing that goal isn’t too far off.

“It’s a matter of one pitch. We’re missing it by one pitch, one play,” Butterfield said. “It’s just getting over that threshold and continuing to fight, which we’re showing.”

Softball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

What a difference a year makes:
CSU softballs stats on 4/27/2011 vs 4/27/2012
W-L Record: 2011 – 7-36, 2012 – 22-22
8-run rule losses: 2011 – 21, 2012 – 3

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