First All-American in recent PC history
“I’m so nervous, I don’t know what to say,” Chelsea Ramos declared early Thursday morning.
One of the most fearsome hitters in not only the Valley, but the state of California, Ramos was borderline anxious preparing to talk about herself. But that’s alright, because Ramos’ play speaks for itself.
In her freshman season alone, the Porterville College third baseman earned All-Northern California honors, first-team All-Central Valley Conference and recently was named a first-team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Ramos is the first Pirate All-American in recent history according to PC athletic director Joseph Cascio.
“Obviously we’re very proud of the accomplishments that she’s made,” PC softball head coach Vickie Dugan said. “I was trying to think back if we had an All-American before because we’ve had some that have made All-State and All-NorCal, but I can’t find that we’ve had an All-American before, so she’s our first. So obviously that makes us very proud. It’s good for the college, it’s good for our program.”
Batting third for the Pirates (18-19, 10-11 CVC), Ramos led the state in on-base percentage (.630) and finished third in batting average (.564). She was also third in the state in triples (seven), fourth in slugging percentage (1.051), ninth in hits (66) and ninth in runs scored (51).
“I think of what kind of situation, like coach has been giving me situations with practicing,” Ramos said about her approach at the plate. “If I’m up to bat, she’ll say, ‘Okay, runner on third. Runner on second.’ And I just have to get that in my head, ‘Hey, I need a base hit. I need to find some green. I need to get on base, I need to score this run or just wait for my pitch and get a hit.’”
Disciplined through 138 plate appearances, Ramos only struck out six times. She drew 17 walks and batted in 50 RBIs while hitting nine home runs.
“She’s improving on her confidence of being able to hit regardless of her count,” said Dugan. “She gained more discipline at the plate as the season went on, because when teams started looking at her batting average, they started pitching to her a little bit different than they pitched to her in the beginning, and she was able to adjust to that. I thought, being a freshman, she was handling the pressure pretty well, even toward the end of the season when your stats are there. People pretend they’re not, but they are.”
As an incoming freshman, Ramos boasted an impressive resume. A three-year varsity player for Monache High School, Ramos and the Marauders won the CIF Central Section Division II championship in her senior year and Ramos batted in two runs in the title game. She was an All-East Yosemite League second-team selection her senior year with a .388 BA and 45 RBIs.
However, all of Ramos’ college accomplishments almost never came to be with Ramos set on turning in her bat and glove for an ultrasound technician degree. Feeling the need for a break from softball after high school, it wasn’t until Monache won the Valley title that Ramos realized she wanted to keep playing.
“Honestly, I did not want to play,” Ramos said. “I needed a break. And thank God. I want to thank everybody around me that was on me and wanted me to play. I’m very glad that I made the decision to keep playing. I was really surprised with how far, or I guess how good I did in the last season.”
With so many accomplishments in her first season and Ramos putting in the offseason work to improve, her sophomore season seems “unpredictable” to Dugan. Ramos and Dugan have focused on fundamentals and techniques in the offseason while furthering Ramos mentality at the plate.
“Well that’s hard to predict,” Dugan said. “We’ve tweaked a little bit of what she’s doing now than what she did in her freshman year, working on her mental side of working her count, working what pitch she wants. Learning to foul off what she doesn’t want until she gets a better strike. So she’s continuing to work on new and better skills so we’ll see.
“I hope that she continues in the path that she’s going. She set a bar awfully high for herself, and I see no reason she can’t make the bar she’s set and continue to get higher,” Dugan added.
“I think I’m ready,” Ramos said about the upcoming season. “I think by the time I’ll be working out in winter and by the time the games come I’ll be ready to face the challenges.”
Regardless of the accolades, Ramos is simply trying to have fun with her team before heading off to a four-year university, where she hopes to play softball while pursing a medical degree that helps her become an ultrasound technician.
“I’m trying to have the most fun that I can because I’m trying to go to university after this next semester, so I’m just trying to have as much fun with the girls on the team and with my family and coaches,” Ramos said.