April 11, 2012 - Having lost only a couple of players to graduation last year, the Oxford varsity softball team has more than reloaded and is ready to roar. The Wildcats return eight players, six of them starters, and were blessed with two talented transfers, as well as two freshmen to round out the roster.
Back Row L-R: Kyla Kurczewski, Cassie Parker, Sierrah Macocha, Jennifer Fifield, Amanda Boyer, Alyson Edgemon and Autumn Cervantez. Front Row L-R: Skye Donaldson, Cherilyn Banas, Jessica Palumbo, Alexis Straub, Cassie Edgemon and Brooke Harris. (click for larger version)
Co-coaches Kristi McDevitt (4th year) and Lindsey Long head the squad and are looking forward to guiding the team throughout the season.
Oxford is led by captains senior Cassie Edgemon and junior Autumn Cervantez. Edgemon is a 4 year varsity starter and has occupied 3rd base her whole career. She is solid defensively and is a clutch hitter. She is being recruited by Macomb Community College. Cervantez is a three-year varsity starter and has moved from catcher to shortstop.
She is a consistent hitter and will lead off the lineup. Cervantez has verbally committed to North Dakota State.
Other key returning players are senior Amanda Boyer (1st base), sophomore Alyson Edgemon (2nd base), sophomore Kyla Kurczewski (pitcher), Sierrah Macocha (right field), junior Alexis Straub (utility) and seniors Cassie Parker (1st base) and Jennifer Fifield (outfield).
"We are blessed to be returning so many quality players. They are aware of our defensive strategies and are able hitters at the plate. We are returning almost our entire infield. Not many teams can have that so we are at an advantage," Long said.
The Wildcats were blessed with two out-of-state transfers whose families chose to call Oxford home. Junior Jessica Palumbo will take over the catching responsibilities for Oxford. She has a strong arm and powerful bat. Junior Brooke Harris joins the squad in an area most needed, pitching. Harris is armed with a variety of pitches and commands the mound. Her addition to the team will allow some relief for Kurczewski as they will share the responsibility. "Not only do we get two quality players move into town, but it just so happens they play the positions we truly needed. That is unheard of, but very welcome," McDevitt said.
Since taking over the program 4 years ago, Oxford has happened across a choice freshman or two that are capable of handling the varsity level of play. This year is no different with Skye Donaldson and Cherilyn Banas.
Both talented players will round out the roster bringing tough defense and strong arms. They have adjusted to the speed of the game, as well as the pitching and have found their groove offensively. McDevitt and Long agree that their defense will carry them the distance and keep opposing teams at bay.
The depth of the lineup has the makings of a well-rounded team. "We have so many options both offensively and defensively. There are so many versatile players on the team that can play more than one position, and play it well. Our defense and our depth will carry us the distance," McDevitt said.
Oxford is on the right path, sweeping Berkley in their first outing of the season Monday night.
The Wildcats put up 26 runs to defeat Berkley 14-5 and 12-5. Kurczewski scored the win in the first game walking only allowing 5 hits, 4 walks, and 3 K's. Palumbo came up big at the plate going 3 for 5 with a double, a triple, and 6 RBI's. Cervantez was 3 for 4 with 4 runs scored and 2 RBI's while Banas went 2 for 3 with 3 runs scored. Defensively,
Cassie Edgemon had 4 assists and an unassisted doubleplay.
In the nightcap, Harris got the win on the mound allowing 5 hits with 4 strikeouts. Cervantez went 2 for 4 with a home run and 2 RBI's while Cassie Edgemon was 2 for 3 with a two triples and 2 RBIs.
Oxford is 2-0.