Perez takes charge of Bloomfield softball team
FARMINGTON — The Bloomfield softball team has been one of the most consistent programs in the state for several years.
The Lady Bobcats have cranked out district titles, seemingly at ease, over the years, but they face a slew of new challenges in 2017. They're making the jump from 4A to 5A this year and join a district loaded with talent, and they'll have to do it while adjusting to head coach Freddy Perez, who's new to the program this year.
Perez, who spent the past two seasons as the head coach at Clovis, said the rich history of Bloomfield softball was part of what lured him to the program.
"The talent and the commitment (Bloomfield) has for fast-pitch softball, that was a big draw for me," Perez said. "And one of the other draws is the rich tradition of good, quality softball."
Perez succeeds former coach Andi Clark, who resigned following the 2016 season. During her four seasons with the Lady Bobcats, Clark compiled an 85-36 overall record, was unbeaten in 35 district games and helped guide the team to the 4A state title game in 2015, losing to Silver 8-3 in the championship game.
Bloomfield interviewed a handful of applicants during the hiring process, and Bloomfield Athletic Director Cecil Linnens said Perez separated himself from the field for a number of reasons.
"Our hiring committee felt he came across very knowledgeable of softball, and his personality seemed to be a good fit with Bloomfield schools," Linnens said. "And he has prior head coaching experience."
Perez spent the past eight seasons with the Clovis softball program. His first six seasons with the Lady Wildcats included two years as the program's C team coach, then four seasons as a varsity assistant before taking over the program for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
In his two years leading the program, the Lady Wildcats went 12-40.
During his time at Clovis — a program that has topped 10 wins in a season once in the past five seasons — Perez said he learned a lot from trying to create a positive culture to make the sport enjoyable for his players. He believes those skills, along with the enthusiasm Bloomfield has for softball, could lead to great things for the Lady Bobcats.
While the team is in the early stages of the season, Perez said he has seen a lot to be excited about heading into the regular season.
"We have quite a bit of juniors leading the team this year, but mostly what sticks out is our pitching. Our pitching is going to be one of our stronger aspects of the game," Perez said. "I think we can swing it one through nine. I think we'll have a deep lineup, and I'm excited about that. Defensively, we're going to hold some teams to nothing. I think we're pretty capable with the glove, as well. It's going to be fun."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.