Ramey returns to diamond

Coach Ramey oversees the women's softball team, as they stand across from each other tossing and catching the ball during a practice earlier this season.
Sara Novenstern/Castleton Spartan

In the bottom of the Spartan Athletic Complex, clinking and clanking sounds echo off the walls in his office from weights being lifted and dropped by athletes.

This is the location where you’ll find Eric “Hec” Ramey who was welcomed back into the Castleton State College athletic community last summer for another run as the head softball coach for the Spartans. In addition, he’ll be given tasks of administrative duties within the athletic department.

As a Fairhaven native, the connections have always been there for Ramey and he saw this opportunity very timely for he and his family. Balancing life as a husband and father of two children while being Athletic Director at Fairhaven Union High School (FHUHS) is a daunting task in itself.

“[As] any athletic director, it’s an incredibly time consuming position. You really are married to the job and never really off the clock,” Ramey said. “I had a great experience at Fair Haven, It was a great time. It’s just the timing of it was great for my family.”

Other than playing second basemen for the Red Sox, being the softball coach of the Spartans to him is “pretty special.”

In his first stint as the head coach of Castleton women’s softball, Ramey totaled a 54-35 record in three years from 2003-2005. The reigns of the program for the past three years have been in the hands of Chris Chapdelaine, who has totaled a 56-53 record. However, Chapdelaine coached 20 more games than Ramey.

Ramey said he doesn’t remember all the wins throughout his career as both a player and a coach, but his competitive side forces him to recall a few moments he says still haunt him.

“I do distinctly remember three state championship losses, two as a coach and one as a player.” Ramey said smirking, leaned back in his green computer chair. “Those are the ones that still get me fired up.”

Players are excited about the knowledge, experience and enthusiasm he brings to the program.

“I think he’s the right person for the job…he knows talent, not age is key to winning,” said sophomore pitcher/outfielder Veronica Arnone.

With experience usually comes little nuances that makes coaches different from those with less experience.

Ruby Bushey, a junior outfielder for the lady Spartans said Ramey’s practice organization is different than Chapdelaine’s. Every segment of Ramey’s practice is broken down to the very minute – something she says gives her great confidence Ramey is dedicated and suitable for the position.

“He’s the missing piece to the puzzle,” Bushey stated without hesitation.

Junior second basemen, Kristi Lawless said Ramey isn’t one to yell very often, but will give constructive criticism as needed.

Winning is as important to a coach with 100 career wins as it is to the one with 10. For Ramey it’s no different. However, he’s more concerned with what fans don’t see between games.

“I try not to talk about winning very much,” Ramey said. “We have a process to our practices that we believe will lead to success on the field. We will prepare for as many situations as we can on both sides of the ball.”

The Spartans’ 2014 season concluded with two consecutive losses to top-ranked Husson University in games 10 and 11 of the NAC Tournament – only needing one win for the title.

Castleton entered the playoffs as the second seed and remained there in the end.

In both games, the Spartans held a lead going into the sixth inning, before giving up a  two-run, game clinching homer in the seventh inning of game one, followed by a five-run, seventh inning rally by the Eagles in game two.

 Pitching is the Spartans’ strong suit, according to Ramey and he’s equally excited about the fact they’re all young, with four sophomores and a freshman.

Wood, the Spartans’ Ace, will likely set the tone on the mound this season. The talented right-hander pitched 17 games, going 6-6 and earning a team best 2.68 ERA in 73 innings pitched in her freshmen season; topped off with 5 of Castleton’s 8 complete games.

In the two final games versus NAC powerhouse Husson, Wood started both, going, 12 2/3 total innings pitched and held the Eagles to no more than two runs each game through the first five innings.

Offensively, Ramey is looking to the returning First-Team All NAC selections Jessica Babcock and Brittany Brayman to lead the charge.

Babcock finished 2014 with 39 hits, and 27 RBI’s, with a batting average of .379 and a .416 OBP. Meanwhile, Brayman tallied 35 hits, and 22 RBIs, with          .372 AVG and .411 OBP.

Castleton opened up the season with a double-header on Thurs, March 12.

The Spartan’s head coach has in the locker room a whiteboard, which he puts a quote or word he feels, pertains to the team. Moving forward, Ramey said he’s already put up all kinds of words and quotes, but has one in particular he feels is pivotal for the team’s success – trust.

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