OXFORD– After closing out with a 14-4 win over UV/GMU on Friday, Coach Ed Holmquist and his Oxford Blackhawks softball team looks back at its 7-6 season.
After a shortened previous season due to Covid-restrictions, Holmquist and his team were grateful to have a full season.
“ With these ladies having time away from softball, it was nice to see the progression of my athletes from where they were in last year’s shortened season to the recent full season, “ Holmquist said. “They did really well.”
Holmquist also takes a moment to appreciate his pitchers and how hard they worked through tiredness.
“ We struggled with endurance. We worked in the off season, but losing time was tough to get back,” Holmquist said. “ Tricia Bohannon and Naomi Smith did a great job and were able to get back some of the pitches they thought they lost.”
Smith will prepare in the offseason to take the top spot on the mound with Bohannon graduating. Oxford also will bring up an underclassman pitcher who will bring talent to the team and be competitive in the second spot.
Holmquist bids a farewell to lone senior pitcher Tricia Bohannon and thanks her for her contribution in all four years on the team.
“I started when Tricia was brought up as a freshman and at the time, I needed a left fielder. She hadn’t played that position much but she worked hard and did a fantastic job chasing down fly balls,” he said. “ She also earned the respect of her teammates by working so hard.”
Holmquist also added that he appreciates the legacy that Bohannon leaves behind for Oxford softball.
“ To me, Tricia's legacy is that she could never be outworked. She would ask to do extra sessions and worked feverishly to gain some of the skills back from time lost,” Holmquist said. “Her work ethic and commitment to the game is what I'll always remember. I hope that some of her peers were able to see that and can attach themselves to the same path.”
Along with the effort of his pitchers, Holmquist noted that he was impressed with his team’s at-bats this season.
“ We found our groove in our at-bats. From the top to the bottom of the batting order, we did pretty well,” he said. “ Our only struggles were against opponents with dominant pitching.”
One key player for Oxford was freshman Taegan Manwarren, who earned the top spot in the batting lineup.
“Taegan is a great student athlete. She has such a great attitude and from that, I was able to put her in some tough spots this year at shortstop and second base,” Holmquist said. “Taegan is also a natural ball player who understands the game and has a really great spirit. If she stays with it, she’ll be one of the best I see come out of this area without question.”
With only losing one senior, Holmquist agrees that his team will remain talented next year with its key players expected to return.
“ Next year, every position and spot will be covered with underclassmen coming up. They’ve had a lot of time to bat, a lot of time to field, and played against tough competition, where they are starting to believe in themselves,” he said. “Oxford softball looks really promising with the young girls playing it today.”