Sports Editor’s playbook, Thursday, May 26, 2011

Patrick Newell

* Oxford’s baseball team pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the Section IV tournament Wednesday afternoon. A number 15 seed with an inauspicious 6-10 record, the Blackhawks stunned number two seed Union Springs, 7-2. Union Springs was coming off an IAC league championship, but was missing its number one pitcher due to injury. The playoffs are all about momentum and peaking at the right time. The Blackhawks started four freshman and two sophomores. In other words, two-thirds of the starting lineup could have played junior varsity. This year, however, the Blackhawks do not have a JV team, and these young men have proven themselves more than worthy to compete on the varsity level.

* I was speaking to a golf partner earlier this week about the large number of fine individual and team performances this week. The week began with Norwich clinching a Class B team tennis title before the championship rounds were even completed. It got better for Norwich as Eli Craig gave Norwich its first singles championship in decades, and three other Norwich players earned spots in the state qualifier. Also Monday night, Oxford senior Haley Witchella proved herself the most versatile of track and field athletes winning the Section IV pentathlon title. Witchella also helped Oxford to win its first sectional title in track and field. And coming full circle back to golf, Norwich junior Eric Walling played his way onto the Section IV state team. Walling finished sixth overall in the Section IV medalist tournament, and will represent Section IV next week.

* I would be remiss if I did not bid Evening Sun reporter, Tyler Murphy, a fond farewell. Today was Tyler’s last “full” day of work, and tomorrow will be sort of a victory lap for our crime/fire reporter, one that will culminate in a celebratory lunch with Sun staff members at Fred’s Inn. Most people who read the Sun know that Tyler worked for us in two stints. I cannot say I remember much about part one of his career here. Jeff Genung, our editor, saw enough in Tyler to bring him back for part two, and Tyler has not disappointed. Perhaps Tyler needed to do some inner soul searching in his time away from us, and what he found during his hiatus worked. The past two years he has been that much more mature and that much more professional.
The beat that Tyler has covered so well the past few years can really wear a person down. Especially when you are consistently exposed to so much ignorance, dishonesty, and depravity. Despite that, Tyler has remained upbeat, wistful, and optimistic during his stay. He can laugh at himself, and his dry sense of humor was a perfect complement to our newsroom dynamic. I typically only saw Tyler in the first two to three hours every morning – and sometimes late in the evening. He was always a welcomed face, and for whatever reason, I found his laid-back demeanor particularly relaxing. I get a sense that Tyler is still searching for his niche in life, and knowing how introspective he can be, I am sure he is probably thinking the same thing. Good luck my friend, you will be missed.

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