By Keleigh Acosta
The CSUSB Women’s softball is off to one of their best start in recent years and Stefanie Pace, although being small in stature, standing at 5 feet 5 inches, is a big part of their success.
Pace, an aggressive hitter and sterling second baseman, is reveling in the success.
“We have only lost three games so far,” said Pace. “We have won every game except the first two against Cal Baptist and one against Dominguez Hills.”
The girls plan to continue working hard, but are also trying to relax their minds and think smart.
“We definitely have not felt this feeling of winning in the past two years and we do not plan on losing that feeling throughout the rest of the season.”
Each game won, is another step towards their goal of not only winning the conference but also doing well in the playoffs.
The first two losses put the team’s hopes at a standstill. Although they were playing against one of the top teams in the nation, their goal was to walk away with the win.
But they showed their resiliency by winning the next nine games.
“The girls on the team are amazing. We have really been working well together and are on the same page of where we want to go this season. Our pitchers have been doing great, and although errors happen on the field, we have a solid defense that has been holding teams down,” said Pace.
“Our bats have been really hot and we have been putting the hits together when runners are on to score not only in one inning, but throughout the whole game.”
Pace, a kinesiology exercise and math major, has played all three years so far while at CSUSB and has many memorable moments.
“My most memorable moment so far was last year when we played Notre Dame de Namur University in San Francisco,” said Pace. “I was put in as a pinch hitter with bases loaded and hit a grand slam off the first pitch to help win the game.”
More memorable moments are sure to come as she has helped lead the team to several wins this season including the nine-game winning streak.
However, Pace is not satisfied yet. She has set a personal goal of helping her team make it to the post season.
“We have really come together as a team and been putting our hits together which has made us just use that momentum to carry from game to game,” said Pace. “We also have a sense of confidence this year that I do not believe was there for us the last two years.”
She has made it clear that although she may be an individual player, she considers herself to be extremely lucky to be part of the team. She has focused her efforts on not only becoming a better player herself, but learning how to grow strong as a team player.
Since Pace’s college career began in 2008, she has seen the team progress greatly each year.
All the hard work is starting to pay off as they have gained some of the recognition they have been striving for now that they have turned a few heads in the California Collegiate Athletic Association this year.
“We really have high expectations for this season. I do think that people are looking at us differently now that we have won the big games that we have won to start off the season,” said Pace. “We have not come out this strong in the past to start off our season, so I think people are really starting to pay us attention.”
Pace has been a star in the making for years. She finds motivation in not only her teammates and family, but her deep passion for the game.
Pace has been playing softball since age 11 and has carried her impressive skill set from little league softball, into high school and now into her third year of college.
As a high school star, Pace played all four years at Hemet High School earning the first-team All-League Honors and the Academic Athlete award.
Having played four years of varsity softball, Pace broke the school home run record.
However, Pace, a modest player, feels she would not be the player she is without the spirit and support of her teammates and coaches.
“I know this story is about me personally, but I think our team as a whole deserves the publicity and school support.”
Pace may be one of the smaller players, but she brings big game.