Steven: Carramusa Is A Moose When It Comes To The Long Ball

April 25, 2012

New Mexico Lobos Softball - On The Mountain West Road

Friday: 3 p.m., New Mexico Lobos at Boise State Broncos
Saturday: 3 p.m., Lobos at Broncos
Sunday: 1 p.m., Lobos at Broncos Game recaps, statistics

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

If you didn't know better and you heard that the No. 1 home-run bomber in the Mountain West was coming up to bat, you might wonder why New Mexico's Stefanie Carramusa was walking to the plate.

Carramusa is not your prototype - or maybe stereotype - power hitter. She is 5-foot-4 and lean. She looks more like a slapper than a wall buster.

She is not a brick like the nation's No. 1 bomber (28 home runs), Camilla Carrera of UTEP. She doesn't have the linebacker-type shoulders like Hayley Miles of San Diego State.

But when this Lobo junior gets hold of a softball, it goes and goes and goes.

Carramusa is No. 5 in the nation in dingers and she tops the Mountain with 18. She is in a race with teammate Jessica Garcia for the MW long-ball crown and the Lobo team crown that Garcia won last year by a 13 to 11 count.

"Jess and I have been battling for two years," said Carramusa, who has three more homers than Garcia and four more than SDSU's Miles (14). "Last year, she'd get a home run and then I'd get a home run. Then I'd get a home run and she'd get a home run. Then she'd get two and I'd get one.

"It was fun, but it seemed like I was always trailing her."

Carramusa already has smashed the UNM home-run record for a season set by Garcia last year with 13. Garcia also has crushed her own mark heading into the stretch run of the season. The 24-16 Lobos have 12 regular-season games left beginning with a pivotal three-game series this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Boise State.

Moose's Power Tips

You have to make sure everything flows together. You want quick hands and quick hips, but they have to go together. As long as it flows together and it's quick, you'll get the pop. You can't hit home runs with just your arms. You have to get your whole body into it. You want to hit the ball a little in front of you so you can get your bat extended.

And does Carramusa want to beat her Lobo teammate?

"Yeah, I do. She beat me last year. It's my turn," said the Lobo, who is called "Moose" by teammates and family. "I tease her and we laugh about it. I tell her, `Jess, you have to catch me now.' She says, `I got you.'"

Carramusa was recruited to UNM by the previous Lobo staff. She is in her second season under Coach Erica Beach and has thrived under a more relaxed environment that still stresses hard work and honest effort.

"It's just a less stressful environment," said Carramusa. "We trust these coaches and know we can rely on these coaches. This team is so much fun to be around."

Carramusa cut her softball teeth on the tough testing grounds of Arizona club ball and Arizona (Tucson) high school ball. She said UNM began recruiting her after a "showcase" tournament in California.

"I was sick during that tournament, but for some reason I had maybe the best weekend of my life," she said. "I visited and I loved Albuquerque and when I found out there was snow here, I loved it even more. I'm a seasons' person. I love that kind of stuff."

Carramusa says her love for the diamond began when she was around 3-years-old because she liked to hang out with her older brother, Anthony.

"When he started T-ball, I was out there playing catch with him in the driveway," said Carramusa, who anchors third base for UNM this season. "I'd go to his practice.

"I grew up a big tomboy. I used to cut the hair off my sister's Barbie dolls; paint their faces."

Pitchers now try to paint the corners when Carramusa comes to the plate. If they don't, Carramusa will make them pay. She is No. 2 in the UNM hitting charts (behind Garcia) with a .377 batting average. She tops those charts in homers (18), runs (51) and slugging percentage (.848).

She is a three-year starter for UNM in the infield, playing short as a freshman and sophomore and moving to third this season.

"She has a lot of fire in her," said Lobo Coach Erica Beach. "She is a strong, athletic kid and every time she does something, she goes 100 percent. She is a bulldog out there."

And also a Moose, who likes to go long.