“12 wins is, I think, an Oyster River record. It certainly hasn’t happened in the last 12 to 15 years,” said head coach, Glen Miller, after the team emerged victorious from their Senior Night, concluding the regular season with a 12-5 record.
The team celebrated the two seniors, Madi Brown-Bloom and Jackie Carter, with flowers, recognition before the game, banners with their faces and numbers, as well as senior gifts and a speech for each senior after the game. The team defeated Sanborn for the second time this season after the game was cut short by the “mercy rule” that ends the game after the 5th inning if a team is up by 12 runs.
Miller said of Carter and Brown-Bloom, “they have been a huge part of our team.” He explained when they joined four years ago, there were a few seniors who carried the team. “The following season they kind of instantly became team leaders. They have a lot of softball experience and so even though they were relatively young as sophomores and juniors, they still were our team leaders.” Their sophomore year there were no seniors on the team and they, along with two juniors, were the natural leaders and captains.
Brown-Bloom looked at this last game and compared it to her performance in the past, saying, “I’m being more confident at the plate, which is a change from freshman year.”
Brown-Bloom also spoke to the changes in ability of the team. “It’s crazy to go from losing every single game my sophomore year to breaking records during my senior year. It just goes to show that you can’t take any team lightly because we used to be the easy win, and now we are the team you don’t want to play in playoffs.” She concluded that the change has been so drastic that it, “almost doesn’t feel real.”
Next year, Brown-Bloom will go on to play Division Ⅲ softball for Elmira College, and Carter will attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
For their last regular season game, Carissa Miller (‘21) pitched all five innings with 5 strikeouts on the game, and Carter catching. Brown-Bloom played center field and caught both pop-flies that came her way.
Miller said of the team’s strengths this game, “I thought the hitting was really great; it took us a couple innings to start hitting, but once we started hitting it was contagious. Everybody was hitting the ball really well.”
Hailey Davis (‘21) hit a pop-up triple to right field with 2 RBIs. Brown-Bloom grounded a double between the shortstop and the second baseman and drove in a run. Jadyn Cunningham (‘20) sent a single to the outfield with 2 RBIs. Carter hit a double in the fifth inning, setting the scene for Davis’ single that hit Carter home. The game ended when Grace Gagne (‘22) hit a short grounder to send Brown-Bloom home from third, which invoked the mercy rule. Their defense held Sanborn to zero runs throughout the game.
Brown-Bloom said of the team, “I honestly think this is the best season Oyster River has ever had, stats wise, but also the team chemistry; we’re all really skilled ballplayers and we just come together as a team really nicely.”
Miller talked about what the team can improve on heading into the playoff tournament. “Today we played real well. Even those first couple innings where we weren’t getting any runs, it’s not like we were playing poorly. But offensively, we were swinging at some pitches that were off the plate. We weren’t terribly disciplined; got a couple outs because we just weren’t disciplined. So we need to get off to a faster start.”
Looking ahead to the playoffs, Brown-Bloom said, “I’m so excited and I think we’re ready. We’re gonna have some hard practices coming up. Coach will definitely kick our butts.” She was hopeful that following their best season yet they would do well in the coming tournament. “I really hope that we can lead Oyster River to the second round of playoffs because it’s actually never been done before.”
Looking towards playoffs and towards her own future with Elmira, Brown-Bloom said, “I can’t express enough how thankful I am for what this team has taught me. I’ve been through 4 completely different seasons and I’m glad I can end my senior year going out with a bang. Oyster River has taught me that softball is so much more than winning games, it’s about teamwork and dedication too.”
The team will enter the play-off tournament as the sixth seed and will play Pembroke, the 11 seed in the first game of the tournament today, Wednesday, at 4pm at home.