Backlund Shines All Over The Diamond

Daniel Fappiano, Layout Editor

As Carli Backlund set out to play first base at the collegiate level for the first time, she was nervous but ready to help her team win.  Just seven games into her career as a Blue Devil, the young infielder was forced to step up and play an entirely different position.

With senior Kaitlin Paterson suffering a season-ending ankle injury, Backlund had to move from first to second base. Despite changing positions, the freshman has made just five errors this season, proving that she can play anywhere.

Patterson, who is Central Connecticut’s lone senior, says that Backlund has impressed her after having to step up at her position.

“She’s been holding her own, being thrown into positions she hasn’t been in before, as a freshman she is growing every day and it’s really showing on the field and with her bat,” Paterson said. “She’s really taken the position into her own hands, she is helping the girls around her.”

While second base has become her primary position this season, Backlund has also played shortstop in the wake of another injury to starter Sarah Ogilvie.

Head coach Breanne Gleason thinks that Backlund’s versatility makes her an asset all over the field.

“She could play anywhere. I could probably put her on the mound and she could figure it out. She’s one of those kids,” Gleason said.

As Backlund bounces from position to position, the bat has come with her. On the year she is batting .267 with three home runs, 14 RBI and six stolen bases. She leads the team in triples and walks and is second in runs.

Hailing from Hamilton, New Jersey, Backlund says she attended CCSU due to the academics as well as softball’s coaching staff.

“When I came to visit I loved the coaches, they were so welcoming and just great people to be around,” Backlund said.

Backlund says those same coaches putting confidence in her have only improved her game while at CCSU.

“It means a lot to know the coaches have so much confidence in me. Coming in as a freshman I didn’t expect much, knowing the coaches believe in me puts more confidence in me on the field.”

Losing Patterson meant Backlund had to learn a whole new position at second base. With Ogilvie out, she now has to play another in shortstop. The freshman infielder says that both players have

“During practice, our middle infielders always help you out if you have questions, they always know what to say,” Backlund said.  “They always keep me on my toes each and every rep.”

With just eight games of Northeast Conference play remaining, Backlund and the Blue Devils know they have to put together a few wins for a chance to contend. The infielder says that keeping their heads up and taking each game one at a time will be key.

As Central looks to make it back into the postseason, Backlund’s versatility will be key. After stepping in for two upperclassmen, she knows her role is only increasing.

“As a freshman it’s definitely nerve-wracking to step into that role, both are such great players and have big shoes to fill,” Backlund said. “When they told me I was playing first I was just excited to be in the game when Kate got hurt I knew I had to step it up and when Sarah went down I knew I had to step it up even more.”