South Carolina's Maguire, Boesel Shape Gamecocks' Culture
As the pop up came back down, Kenzi Maguire stood on top of the second base bag as she found the best spot to camp underneath the ball. Mackenzie Boesel, her middle infield partner, just stared at her and laughed. Maguire joined the chuckling once the play was made. It’s just one of the many times the South Carolina shortstop and second baseman have found joy in the little things while playing together.
The pair have been teammates since 2017 and have been the Gamecocks' middle infield duo from that point on. To them, playing together feels almost unconscious—they know exactly where each other will be on the field. If Boesel has to track down a ground ball up the middle, Maguire is prepared for the backhand flip. Everything between them feels united.
“We learned to read each other in certain situations,” Boesel said. “We already know how each other plays and that makes it a lot easier to basically read each other’s minds.”
The amount of experience the two carry into 2021 is unmatched. Boesel and Maguire combined have played almost 400 games as Gamecocks. For that reason, South Carolina head coach Beverly Smith and associate head coach Lisa Navas often defer to their veteran infielders as extra coaches. That certainly helps the program in a year that highly-recruited infielder Riley Blampied and nine other freshmen are on the roster.
Similar to their play, Boesel's and Maguire’s leadership styles intertwine as well. As Boesel describes, Maguire’s ability to be a vocal leader is admirable. According to the South Carolina second baseman, the shortstop has a way with communicating with their younger teammates and is always open for questions. Meanwhile, Maguire says that Boesel sets a standard with her work ethic, she’s a perfectionist and the freshmen get to watch the high level that she expects from herself.
Since Smith took the South Carolina head coaching position in 2011, her program’s best years have come with Boesel and Maguire on the roster. It’s not a coincidence that the Gamecocks’ 2018 Super Regional appearance—the first for the program since 2007—happened in the same year that Boesel and Maguire made the All-SEC Second Team together.
The 2021 season will be the last of their careers together as Gamecocks, but the two take great pride in the way they helped shape the program into a better one than it was when they first arrived.
“We’ve taken a lot of pride in building the culture into what it is today,” Boesel said. “We’ve had to form it into what we wanted, what our goals were to win a national championship. That’s something (that we) as leaders and the coaching staff have taken pride in is taking the time to build our culture. Leaving that to continue to grow and live on in the future teams.”
“We’ve worked extremely hard to make the culture what it is today,” Maguire added. “You just want to see it improve.”
It’s not often that Boesel and Maguire experience struggles in their games, as each has earned various All-SEC honors. However, when those tough times do come around, they always have one another to turn to.
“We are able to feed off each other,” Maguire said. “When we are going through a failure, such as a bad at-bat or an error, we can just look at each other and figure it out. That way, we are focused on the next play. It’s nice to have someone next to you who can always pick you up.”