Oxford baseball team looks to improve during 2015 season
● By Steven Hoffman
The Oxford baseball team finished the game against Downingtown East on March 30 stronger than it started—and that’s the kind of progress that head coach Andy Wendle is looking for from his young squad in 2015.
“Our goal this whole season,” explained Wendle, “is to improve.”
Oxford’s lineup is filled with freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. The only senior is Joey Boggs, a right-handed starting pitcher who took the hill against Downingtown East. Boggs demonstrated some of the experience and leadership that Oxford will need this year by persevering through some challenges against Downingtown East. The Cougars plated three runs in the top of the first without the benefit of a hard hit ball. Two fielding miscues didn’t help Oxford’s cause.
Oxford got a run back with timely hitting when Andrew Culp doubled home Hunter Hall in the bottom of the second, but then Downingtown East's offense, powered by hitters like Kyle Aijan and Ryan Rumer, added four more runs to its lead. Oxford trailed 7-1 going into the bottom of the fifth.
That’s when the young Oxford team rallied, providing evidence that the team is learning and growing under the direction of Wendle, who is in his second year as the coach at Oxford. Noah Maida led off the inning with a walk. Eddie Settine singled. Dan Green walked to load the bases. Weber was hit by a pitch to bring in a run. Nolan Benke singled to drive in another. One out later, Hall walked with the bases loaded to plate another run, and then Culp was hit by a pitch to make it 7-5. Michael Williams singled to drive in Oxford’s sixth run.
On this day, that’s where Oxford’s comeback ended.
Zach Todd took over on the mound for Oxford and held Downingtown East scoreless over the last two innings, but the Hornets couldn’t push the tying run across the plate.
Even so, Wendle was pleased with his team’s effort to battle back.
“We finished the game stronger than we started,” Wendle said. “They never counted themselves out.”
The team will rely on that kind of resilience throughout the season. Wendle said that he needs leadership and contributions from players like Benke and Green and Weber as the younger players gain valuable experience.
The strength of this team, Wendle said, isn’t reliance on one or two standout players, but rather that the whole team works to do something to help Oxford win.
“They work hard and they are focused,” he said.