Colorado Mesa softball has dominated the RMAC the last couple of seasons, and this year made a name for itself on the national stage, but the team’s success wouldn’t come without the help of a couple Colorado Springs natives.
McKenzie Surface and Kellie Mrofcza have been playing softball together long before their days at Colorado Mesa University.
“We started playing together when we were about 9,” Mrofcza, a junior shortstop for the Mavericks, said.
Now, the duo is part of the backbone to one of the best teams in the country.
“From when we played at 10s to getting to the age when were looking at colleges to now where we have a potential to do something really cool together, it’s just really exciting,” Surface, who is 21-1 on the year as CMU’s ace, said. “To have someone that you’re familiar with coming into it, it was great.”
Colorado Mesa sat at number one in the NFCA DII Top 25 poll for seven straight weeks this season. Much of that success is thanks to Surface’s dominance in the circle. The reigning RMAC Pitcher of the Year is living up to all expectations in her junior season. She’s already set a school record with 70 career wins.
“She’s a gamer,” Mavericks Head Coach Ben Garcia said. “She wants to throw all the time, she wants to be that focal point. She’s always been that… we do score some runs for her, but gosh, she keeps us in every game.”
Some runs is an understatement. Mrofcza is a key contributor to the offense that set an RMAC record for runs scored and team doubles this season with 457 and 121, respectively. Garcia, who spent a little more than two decades as Pueblo East’s head softball coach, has high praise for his middle infielder.
“She’s been phenomenal,” he said. “She’s by far, in my opinion, she’s the best shortstop in the league and really one of the best in the nation. She’s so steady. She’s just that calming factor that I think pitchers need.”
For Surface and Mrofcza, the chemistry comes from years spent on the same field.
“Having her to calm me down in the infield and having me to calm her down, we just know each others tendencies,” Mrofcza said. “It really helps to have someone there that you’ve known for so long, that you feel so comfortable with to help you out through those tough times.”
Luckily, the tough times have been few and far between for CMU this season. The Mavericks posted a 43-3 regular season record en route to their third straight RMAC title.
“I don’t know how that happens with the exception of hard work and good coaches,” Garcia said. “I’ve been blessed just to be able to surround myself with those players that work hard every single day. They bought into the program, and my coaches have done absolutely great.”
As the Mavericks enter the postseason, Mrofcza and Surface said it’s been great to enjoy the ride together.
CMU hosts the RMAC tournament next week for the third straight year. Action starts Thursday and runs through Saturday. The top eight RMAC teams qualify for the conference tournament, with the winner automatically qualifying for the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament.