OAA Red to test softball squad
March 30, 2011 - The varsity softball team is looking to reload this year after losing five key players from last season's district championship team.
|Back Row: (L-R) Alyson Edgemon, Amanda Boyer, Jennifer Fifield and Brenna Helmuth. Middle Row: (L-R) Hannah Rogers, Nicole Allen, Kyla Kurczewski and Alyssa Hurtado. Front Row: (L-R) Brittany Basela, Cassie Edgemon, Autumn Cervantez, Sierrah Macocha and Courtney May. (click for larger version)|
"It's kind of scary after you lose a core group of girls...so you are always kind of curious as to what is going to come back," varsity head coach Kristi McDevitt said.
However, McDevitt envisions a promising season thanks to the return of six starters from last year's squad.
"The returning starters that are coming back already have a strong base from being on varsity the last two seasons," she said. "They are really setting the bar high and we found some really good players to fill the holes we needed to fill in and I think we are going to be really competitive this year."
Returning to the squad this season will be senior captain Alyssa Hurtado, who will move from centerfield to the shortstop position full time beginning this spring.
"She is our most veteran player and she is going to play a huge role," McDevitt said.
Joining Hurtado as captain will be junior Cassie Edgemon and sophomore Autumn Cervantez.
Edgemon, a three-year starter on varsity, will start at third base while Cervantez will take her talents behind the plate as the teams starting catcher.
"She (Cervantez) has improved so much since last season that I have complete faith in her to get the job done back there," McDevitt said.
Other returning starters include junior first baseman Amanda Boyer, junior starting pitcher Hannah Rogers and senior Courtney May, who will patrol centerfield this season for Oxford.
The rest of the positions - leftfield, rightfield and second base - McDevitt will fill with newcomers Brenna Helmuth, Kyla Kurczeewski, Alyson Edgemon, Sierrah Macocha, Jennifer Fifield and Nicole Allen.
"Those are the girls that we are going to look towards to fill those key positions on the field where we need the most help," McDevitt said.
One of the biggest uncertainties of the season is how well the Wildcats will respond when they go up against the best in the Oakland Activities Association. According to McDevitt, the Wildcats will be placed in the OAA Red Division, the top division in the league, and will battle Lake Orion, Clarkston, Troy, North Farmington and West Bloomfield.
"I think we will fare really well against those teams, especially if we get consistent pitching and our defense is just as strong as it has ever been," McDevitt said.
Her main goal for the season is to improve every day and be competitive in every single game.
"No matter what happens during league play, the biggest outcome is improving every single day to prepare for a district championship and a regional championship and taking it from there," she said.
"Some people might think that it is a daunting task...but with our returners that are coming back, they have stepped it up and they are going to be really competitive," she said.
McDevitt said Oxford's biggest strength this season will be their defense.
"When you are returning that core of girls, especially most of my infield, that gives you a lot of hope," she said. "They already know our defensive scheme, and that gives me great comfort." The Wildcats open the season at Waterford Kettering on Wednesday, March 30.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.