CSU softball back in action as fall schedule begins

Junior Guerrero

After silencing critics and proving the doubters wrong, Colorado State softball looks to build off their best season in school history and add another conference title to their trophy case.

The first step of this process began on Sunday when the Rams hosted Metro State in the first game of fall ball. These games in the fall don’t count in the win and loss column, but that doesn’t mean they are completely meaningless.

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These games are a great opportunity for the ladies to get back onto the field and see some pitching from opposing pitchers. Hitting in the cages and in practice can only do so much for the players, and at some point, they need to see live pitching.

It’s also a great opportunity to see what areas need improvement before the actual season starts. These games can only benefit the Rams.

Although the actual season doesn’t begin until next semester, all their hard work and preparation will show when the regular season comes around.

https://twitter.com/CSUSoftball/status/1175180912826318848

After the departure of seniors Lauren Buchanan, Bridgette Hutton, Danni Klein, Isabella Navarro and Amber Nelson, the Rams have some big shoes to fill. These seniors brought leadership and experience that is extremely important to a team when it comes to defending a conference championship.

This year, the Rams will lean heavily on seniors Corina Gamboa, Jessica Jarecki, Haley Donaldson and Ashley Ruiz. These four ladies have the most experience on the team and can help teach the rest of their teammates what it takes to be successful.

Last year, Gamboa was an absolute anchor at third base and swung a really good bat the entire season. She finished her junior year with a .335 batting average, which was fifth best on the team.

She also drove in 42 runs, which were second best on the team. If Gamboa can replicate these types of numbers, she is in store for a big year.

Jarecki solidified herself as number two in the rotation last year right behind Hutton. This year, Jarecki looks to make the leap and carry the pitching staff as their number one.

Softball pitcher gets replaced
Colorado State softball pitcher Jessica Jarecki (19) gets replaced by Taylor Gilmore (6) in CSU’s game against Nebraska on Feb. 28. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

She started 23 games last season and finished with a 15-4 record. She also finished the season with 14 complete games and earned a 2.65 ERA. Jarecki earned multiple Mountain West honors throughout the season and showed why she’s ready to take the next step.

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When talking about Donaldson, the one word to describe her is smooth. She is as smooth as it gets up the middle at shortstop. She started all 51 games for the Rams last season and finished the season with a .932 field mark.

As the leader of the infield, Donaldson is poised to have another great season for the Rams.

Lastly is first baseman Ruiz. Ruiz appeared in 49 games and started 48 games at first base. She finished the season with a .386 batting average and 11 home runs. It seemed that if the team ever needed a big hit, Ruiz was there to come up clutch.

Not only is Ruiz solid on offense, but she is as reliable as it gets at first base. While in the field she was perfect with 204 putouts and two assists.

With a lot of youth on this team, the Rams will need their seniors to play a huge role this season. The future is bright for the ladies out there on the diamond.

Junior Guerrero can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @juniorg45.