Mirian Fader of the Orange County Register focused on softball senior Delynn Rippy, who was named to the All-Tournament team after collecting six hits, four runs and two RBI while batting .333 in the Puerta Vallarta Challenge.
By Mirin Fader| Read the Full Story
The sun was shining. The resort where the Cal State Fullerton softball team was staying at in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, was steps away from the beach, the hot sand and the cool breeze.
But the Titans (12-13 through Saturday) struggled in their first game of the international tournament against Texas Tech on Feb. 16, giving up two runs early and eventually falling, 5-1.
Afterwards, players were frustrated. Stuck. Craving something positive. Cue Delynn Rippy, Fullerton's senior outfielder, who took the floor.
"It's one game," Rippy told her teammates, easing the tension in the air with as something as simple of a dose of reality. "We're fine. We just have to turn it around. We have to work together to win. It's not just one player."
Rippy, who was named to the All-Tournament team after collecting six hits, four runs and two RBI while batting .333, is usually a quiet leader, not one to speak up. But when she does, everyone listens. She's the most experienced on the team and is batting from the leadoff spot for the first time in her career.
"We just needed that leadership," Titans softball coach Kelly Ford said. "She just looked at me and said, 'Coach, that's what you want me to do? I'm going to do it and I'm going to be the best leadoff that you have.'"
The senior kinesiology major is enjoying a career year with a team-high 31 hits, which ranks third in the Big West Conference, while batting .369, ranking seventh.
When Rippy enters Anderson Family Field (usually a half hour before any of her teammates arrive), there's an unshakable focus about her. She's dialed in. She's quiet. Looking at her steely face during the game, it's difficult to discern whether Fullerton is winning.
"She doesn't get too high and doesn't get too low," Ford said. "That's tough in a game like softball."