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Cohen commands Arkansas softball to new heights
by Damian Tromerhauser
Jun 17, 2012 | 896 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three years ago, Chelsea Cohen finished her softball career with the Reed High School, having successfully helped return the Raiders to a state final. Now, Cohen is leading her latest team to its own new-found success.

The 2009 Reed graduate is now taking the circle at the University of Arkansas and commanding the Razorbacks to new heights. After seeing sparse time her freshman and sophomore years, Cohen took the role of No. 1 pitcher for Arkansas. Completing the season with 196.1 innings of work and a 3.32 ERA, Cohen (14-15) led the Razorbacks to a 29-28 record and to the NCAA regionals. Although Arkansas was knocked out by California, the top team in the nation at the time, Cohen still enjoyed the experience.

“It was awesome to go to regionals,” Cohen said. “Our coach always told us ‘Once you get a taste of regionals you’re always going to want to go back.’ I think going there this year is really going to fire us up next year and we’re going to be excited. We won’t be looking for anything less than a regional bid. I know we’ll already have a bunch of girls here this summer working hard in the weight room, so I know we’re going to come out fired up and ready to push ourselves forward.”

With Cohen manning the circle next year for her senior season, the Razorbacks will look to accomplish even more. Having the support of her team and coaches, Cohen knows she can depend on them in their return efforts.

“Being named the No. 1 pitcher felt really good. It just shows you that hard work does pays off,” Cohen said. “I knew my team had my back. I’m not a huge strikeout pitcher or anything like that, so a lot of my success has to deal with the defense that is behind me. It felt great to know that my coaches and my teammates all had confidence in me and knew they could put me on the mound whenever they needed to.

“This season was so much fun. We had just awesome team chemistry this year. I don’t think we had a girl on the team that we had any problems with. We all got along really well. It was just a lot of fun. We worked extremely hard both on the field and in the weight room this year and I just think that we were ready to burst out and get the success of Arkansas going.”

It was one specific lesson that Cohen gained as a Raider that allowed her keep patient and wait for the right time to take advantage of her opportunity with the Razorbacks.

“At Reed I learned that you’re not always going to be successful,” Cohen said. “You’re not always going to get the outs and the strikeouts that you need at the time. You have to overcome that adversity. That has helped me a lot.”

While Cohen has had fun with her success on the softball diamond, she has also taken enjoyment from her overall experience in Arkansas.

“My favorite part is the people. They’re awesome. I think everyone I have met here has just been really nice and really, really helpful,” Cohen said. “I love Fayetteville and I love the state of Arkansas and I just love the people I’ve met here. I’ve made great friendships here. The teachers I have in the classroom have all been really helpful and great. Everyone just helps you so much and I think it’s really just given me the chance to grow up since I’m so far away from home. I’ve just had so much fun playing for my coaches here. Everyone I’ve been around here have just been great and helped me grow in some sort of way.”

Cohen, who has picked up a small accent in her time in the South, said the pace of life in Arkansas is one of the best parts of her whole experience.

“We’re just kind of relaxed here,” Cohen said. “We go to weights, class, practice, then go home and do your homework and maybe do some study hall. It’s just a college town here. There’s not much else to do other than be around other athletes and students.”

Although Cohen enjoys the atmosphere in Fayetteville, her attention is already set on her senior softball season.

“As a team, I want to have a year like we did this year,” Cohen said. “I want to be successful and make it to regionals and possibly move on. Of course we want to make it to the College World Series. I think it would be awesome to play in Oklahoma City just to have that feeling. I have a lot of friends on the Oklahoma team and the Cal team that have been there and they just talk about how much fun it is and the atmosphere. I think it’d be great to be able to take our team there and get these girls that experience.

“I just want to have the team chemistry that we had this year and for all of us to have fun together with no problems, just working hard. As for myself, really I just want to have a successful year. I want to get a good amount of innings in and just really enjoy being on the field for the last time.”
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