|Coley Ries is closing in on 100 career wins.|
However, when it comes to Minnesota State senior softball pitcher Coley Ries, “success” is undoubtedly one word to describe her remarkable record-breaking softball career.
Ries is the Maverick record holder for career wins (99) and strikeouts (571), as well as the most strikeouts in a single season (434).
“Coley has obviously been an important part of the program. She’s brought a lot of success to the program,” said Lori Meyer, Minnesota State's veteran head softball coach. Ries’s teammate, sophomore Cori Kennedy added, “Coley is a very selfless player and she always puts the team first. She’s a really good leader on our team.”
Hailing from Eagle Lake, Minn., Ries, 22, is a product of Mankato East High School, where she graduated from in 2012. Following her high school career, one in which she went 85-18 with 786 batters while leading the Cougars to three Big 9 championships, she committed to continue her softball career at Minnesota State.
“I chose MSU because, being from Mankato, it’s cool to be able to play in front of your community,” Ries said.
Her decision to attend a local university also stems from the importance of family and great coaches.
“Having my family close by, being able to attend all the games, and all the money and time they’ve put into my career throughout the years, it just seemed right to be able to have them be there,” Ries said. “I was also motivated by the coaching staff. I knew that they wanted to make me better,” she said.
After spending her first season red-shirting, it was during the 2014 campaign where Ries’s long list of achievements on the softball diamond for Minnesota State began. She made 37 appearances, including 29 starts in as a freshman, posting a 23-8 record to go along with a 1.92 earned run average. She was named Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Pitcher of the Year that year.
Ries followed up on a great freshman campaign by appearing in 41 games and constructing a 21-16 record as a sophomore. She fanned 297 batters, a school single-season record. She earned All-NSIC Second Team Honors.
Ries didn’t slow down in 2016. She went 29-7 in her junior season. She compiled 1.18 ERA and fanned 434 batters in establishing a school single-season record.
That performance was good enough to earn her NSIC Pitcher of the Year and First-Team All-NSIC honors.
So far in 2017, the senior right-hander holds a 21-2 record with a record-breaking win coming Saturday against Bemidji State, when Ries became the all-time wins leader with 98. With a win Tuesday over Southwest Minnesota State, she now has 99 wins.
“100 wins is a goal of mine, so knowing I’m approaching one of my goals is really cool, but I’m not trying to think about it too much,” said Ries. The Mavericks next game is Saturday, when they host Northern State.
What Ries has done on the field during games is one thing, but off the field could potentially be even bigger.
“The community can relate to Coley because they’ve been able to follow her throughout her career, and what also adds to that is, she’s just a great person. She’s a great ambassador for the community, Minnesota State and for the sport of softball,” Meyer said. “She’s a tremendous role model for young girls just because of how she interacts with them and her passion for softball,” she said.
Ries graduates May 6 with a degree in mass media, but is unsure what she wants to do.
“I hope to get into coaching, maybe help out the coaches here. Nothing is really set in stone yet. I’m really trying to focus on finishing the year and see where it takes me,” she said.
Contributed by Collin Wilmes, Athletic Communications intern