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 Co-captain Kristi DeVries and the Buckeyes will open the 2004 season Friday, February 13 at the Arizona St. Fiesta Bowl Classic.

Ohio State softball co-captain Kristi DeVries will begin her senior season this weekend as the Buckeyes get the 2004 campaign underway at the Arizona State Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Tempe, Ariz. DeVries already ranks second in Ohio State history in career wins (44) and strikeouts (426) and is one of seven starters returning this season for the Buckeyes, who will face five 2003 NCAA tournament participants this weekend. A native of Corona, Calif., DeVries also has collected 93 hits, 18 doubles and a homerun at the plate in her career as a Buckeye.

Kristi joined us live at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11, a day before the team departed for sunny Tempe.

Jim (Columbus): Kristi, I have been reading a lot about the mental aspect of sports as of late. How important is the mental game in softball, and what do you and/or your team do to prepare mentally?
Kristi DeVries: The mental aspect is very important! You can have the best physical team out there and you may win some games, but you can never get to the TOP if you don’t have the mental part of the game. We prepare by meeting weekly iwth our team psychologist either as a team or individually and discuss topics such as stress, focus, routines, confidence, teamwork, etc… Sometimes we’ll do activities that show us our strengths and weaknesses. This helps us learn about ourselves and help us to improve in the areas we need to both individually and as a team.
LeAnn (Marion): This will be your first season at Ohio State without former Buckeye pitcher (and record-holder) Katie Chain. Has that changed your perspective or preparation at all for this season?
Kristi DeVries: I will miss Katie a lot. She was a great player who did a lot for this program and above all she was a great teammate. We worked well together and pushed each other which helped us both to grow. On the other hand, we came to college knowing we would gain a few and lose a few each year. We cannot dwell on the past and who we’ve lost. It’s a new season, a new team and we’ve got some freshman that will step it up for us. Some of our sophomores and juniors have stepped up into some big shoes and they are handling it well. As far as our pitching staff I fell that we have gelled tramendously and we are all looking forward to tackeling this season as a unit!
Keith (Delaware): Other than returning out west this weekend to begin the season, what do you enjoy about traveling with the Ohio State softball team?
Kristi DeVries: The bonding with my family (team). You get to know some of your teammates real well, when you eat with them, and room with them and live with them throughout the trips. We have a lot of fun in the hotel rooms, airports, hotels, bus trips and of course the resaurants because our team LOVES food!!! I don’t think we ever come home from a trip without an interesting story to tell.
Anna (Columbus): What are your personal goals for the season and what has the team set as some of its goals?
Kristi DeVries: I have high standards and goals for the team this year. I want the College World Series!! It is my last chance to get there and i want it. I know my team is behind me and they want to work for it and fight for it too. So what are our goals?? Win Big Ten… Win Regionals… And go to the WCWS!!!
Terra Fry (portland): Kristi who do you admire the most on and off the field?
Kristi DeVries: As far as our team goes, I’d have to say there are two people i admire most because they have similar qualities. BJ and Jamee. They have so much heart, determination and desire for the game. Jamee is new to the team, but stepping in as if she’s been here before. Not only do i admire them on the field but they are great friends and respectable people off the field.
Columbus: What do you consider the most enjoyable aspect of playing softball for Ohio State???
Kristi DeVries: The most exciting part for me is putting on the uniform. I love the tradition at this school and the environment. I love the fact that i get to represent this school and putting on the uniform reminds me of how thankful i am to be here in this situation. I am very lucky to be doing something that i love at a place that i enjoy.
Terra Fry (portland): What do you think of your freshman class?
Kristi DeVries: I am very excited about this years freshman class. They are enthusiastic and will add character to this team. They all work hard and each one will bring something to this team!
Columbus: As we know you are one of the captains this year, how will you make the team successful this year by leading the team?
Kristi DeVries: Being chosen a captin from my teammates was an honor to me. I hope that one reason they have choosen me is because they see how much i want to win and how much i care about this team. How will i make the team successful? I cannot MAKE them successful. It has to be within them to WANT to be successful. As a leader all i can do is help them along the way. I will push them and chanllenge them, but along the way i will encourage them and let them know that i have the faith in each one of them that they can get the job done!
Heather (Nashville): Kristi, why do you where the No. 2?
Kristi DeVries: I wear it because it was my sister’s number. She started out playing softball before me and I’ve always looked up to her.
Heather (Nashville): Kristi, are you excited to start the season in Tempe? Will some of your family and friends come to the games?
Kristi DeVries: I am very excited to start out this season in Arizona. There will be some good teams there, that will give us a challenge but we are ready to take them on. Yes, my parents are coming down to see me along with my best friend and her mom. I will also see some of my friends on the field which i am looking forward to!
Columbus: You have one year left, we are all going to miss you. Take them to the top!! GO BUCKS
Kristi DeVries: Thank You!!
James (rockford ohio): What do you expect for the upcoming season?
Kristi DeVries: I expect some challenges, hard work, fun… but most of all WINS! Like I mentioned before I expect to go far in post season play. We have a lot of depth. Our rookies have stepped it up and our freshman will contribute well.
Aisha, Columbus: Go Bucks! Take 5! YEAH!!
Kristi DeVries: GO BUCKS!
Kristi DeVries: Our time is up here, thank you for participating in the chat. I hope you can all come out and see us play this spring. GO BUCKS!