Fans and supporters of the Cal State Fullerton softball team came together at the George G. Golleher Alumni House Saturday evening for the team’s Leadoff Social fundraiser.
This was the eighth annual Leadoff Social fundraiser and occurs every year before the season starts. All proceeds from the event directly benefits the team; this year’s goal was $70,000.
“It was fun seeing everyone’s parents, especially the freshmen. The atmosphere is so fun here” said senior Zoe Richards. “You see people in the stands and you might not know them face to face, but getting to know them even when they don’t have people on the team that they’re related to but they come out and support, it’s so great.”
The event, which sold approximately 250 tickets to families and donors, was organized by Brendan Hallinan, the Titan Athletics’ special events coordinator.
Guests were able to bid on various items that included tickets to different professional sporting events, dinner packages, weekend getaways and an Atari Classic gaming system.
CSUF head coach Kelly Ford addressed the audience on behalf of the team with motivating words for what she expects from the squad before they kick off their season in the Titan Classic next weekend.
“I hope the student athletes see the support behind them,” Ford said. “It absolutely takes a village, this is magical. This is what we want to bottle up and take to Thursday night’s home opener.”
The Titans come into the season as the number one team, aiming to win it all in the Big West conference. Since 2016, they have been the reigning Big West champions after earning their fourth consecutive title last season.
“If we do what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to end up in Oklahoma City this June. So get yourselves ready,” Ford said.
Also featured at the event was a photo preview of the softball team’s new complex that will be adjoined to their current structure. The project is expected to be constructed from June 2020 to April 2021.
Planning has been developing for over three years, which includes a new batting cage, locker rooms for both players and coaches, a softball lounge and clubhouse as well as coaches’ offices. The complex will be located on campus next to the softball field, in addition to features that will be used by the baseball team.
Ford said she hopes the complex’s transformation will open the doors to potential recruits and build a stronger reputation for the program on the national stage.Jim Donovan, the university’s athletics director, is a strong believer in the new softball center. He presented the map and floor plans to the audience, highlighting the luxuries that will be accessible to the athletes.
“Baseball and softball are two of our most nationally competitive teams so let’s do something that will help them for the next 10 to 20 years to help them stay nationally competitive. We felt new locker rooms and coaches offices would do it,” Donovan said.
Former softball coach Judi Garman was also recognized at the event and spoke on the success of the program since she was the head coach for CSUF in 1979. By the time of her retirement in 1999, she was the winningest collegiate coach.
“We didn’t have a field on campus, we played at five different fields in the city. I had a dream of having a field. There was a gnarly orange grove in the center of campus and I said that’s where we should put the softball field and that’s where it is now,” Garman said.
As part of the effort to help fund the construction of the complex, Garman has stepped up and offered to become a title sponsor for the Softball Hall of Fame that will be added to the facility.
“I can never give back the equivalent of what CSUF has given to me. It started as a dream, a dream from CSUF that we can build something special. I’m so thankful that I was able to hop on that train,” Garman said.
The Titans will begin their season at Anderson Family Field on Thursday, Jan. 6 at 6 p.m. against Middle Tennessee State University in the Titan Classic.