Ohio Softball Making Noise On And Off The Field

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“If I don’t lose my voice by the end of the weekend, I’m not doing my job.”

This sentiment expressed by senior Biz Eyrise is quite indicative of how the Ohio softball team operates in the dugout and on the field at every single game.

Attending a softball game at the Ohio University Women’s Softball Complex is far from a quiet experience. A fan and just as importantly the opposing team are greeted with a raucous squad of players who never let up during the course of a game.

The team has cheers for individual players and group cheers. There are cheers for success and cheers for failures. The Bobcats have a cheer for about any situation. They are relentless as they sing, cheer, yell and encourage their teammates.

Eyrise, who refers to herself as “Big Guns,” and senior second baseman Tessa Bailey are two of the more rambunctious players when it comes to the amount of noise that comes from the two.

Their cheers range from pop-culture references to inserting teammates’ names into musical hits reflecting many years of contemporary radio. All in all, the cheers are silly ways to make each other smile and forget any burden or stress that may befall a frustrated teammate. 

As Eyrise put it, “We go all the way back to the 70’s to current music. Like, it’s kind of like radio stations, 80’s and 90’s and today.”

Eyrise likened one cheer of theirs to a play on Lady Gaga’s song “Bad Romance,” while another puts the song “Shout,” a 1959 hit by the Isley Brothers, into a cheer for junior third baseman Raven King.

Another amusing example came in a cheer for junior Alexandria Basquez. The cheer was a play on the song popularized by The Isley Brothers and The Beatles in the early 1960’s, “Twist and Shout.”

Eyrise was struck with the idea after watching a favorite movie of hers,  “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” It encouraged her to start a chant that the team now sings in Basquez’s at-bats that switches out “baby” in the song for “Avi” and also replaces “work it on out” with “hit it on out.”

Bailey shared one that the team enjoyed doing that usually starts with Eyrise. If a Bobcat hits a ball near the wall but not quite far enough to be a home run, Eyrise will yell out, “Oh my goodness, I don’t know if I’ve been to the eye doctor lately, but I think that may have been a,” and then the team collectively screams, “WARNING SHOT!”

Bailey, a 2012 Academic All-MAC Honorable Mention, compliments Eyrise to a great extent with her backup cheers and is definitely one of the more vocal Bobcats. There is a definite dynamic between these two specifically.

“We’re cheer synchronized, all the time,” Eyrise emphasized on her relationship with Bailey on the field. “We look at each other. She’ll be at one end, and I’ll be at the other (of the dugout), and we’ll look at each other and be like ‘Peanut Butter Jelly Time.’”

But not to cut other Bobcats out, junior catcher and utility player DJ Engelman and King are also known for their communication and creativity in creating new cheers.

There is a loosely organized hierarchy in how the team cheers and communicates. Bailey and Eyrise both agreed that they came to admire the enthusiasm of ex-Bobcat Emily Wethington. Coming in as freshmen, they were told by coach Jodi Hermanek and came to understand that while a team cannot always control what happens over the course of a seven inning game, they can always control the noise level and enthusiasm they put forth.

Eyrise made consistent efforts during her freshman season to mimic Wethington’s tones and took note of how she stayed vocal and active throughout the game, often joining her teammates in providing the backing vocals to cheers and songs.

When there does seem to be a lull in the noise or cheers, it is on the shoulders of anyone on the team to pick the energy back up. Even as others often pick up the team with a cheer, it often falls on Eyrise to pick things back up.

Credit is due to coach Hermanek as well. Eyrise was adamant about what their coach preached to them.

“We’re so much about having fun. Herm (Hermanek) gets on us if we’re not having fun, and we get on each other if we’re not having fun,” Eyrise said. “So it’s like, be as stupid as you can be, to make your teammates laugh about something, the better.”

Bailey summed up the fun and reassuring feeling that she experiences over the course of the game, especially when she is up at the plate.

“It’s amazing,” Bailey said. “I mean, just hearing them in the dugout supporting me, and just hearing that just makes me relax in the box. And know that even if I do screw up, they still have my back, and they’re positive for me.”

The Bobcats will hardly be pressed to find others to fill Bailey and Eryise’s shoes when they graduate. Juniors Engelman and King will be quick to step up to fill the noise void.

Eyrise also made note of the encouraging signs of exuberant participation on team cheers from the likes of outfielders Sloan Waker and Dakota Pyles, as well as the importance for them in hitting their tones and remaining energetic.

The Bobcats and Eyrise, specifically, see these cheers, communication and enthusiasm as their identity.

“We talk about it all the time,” Eyrise said. “Ohio University, our identity as a team, is we’re loud, we’re a rambunctious crew, and we get into people’s heads because we’re so on each other that it gets to other teams.”

So if anyone expects the roar of the Bobcats to be quieted anytime soon, taking a trip to the softball complex will extinguish such a thought within a short innings time. “Big Guns” and others will make sure of that.