Home sweet home (base)

Bella Murdock, Staff Writer

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     It’s Game two of the 2013 Women’s College World Series championship. The Oklahoma Sooners score three runs in the third inning defeating the Tennessee Lady Vols 4-0, claiming the title of national champs. Young fans, little athletes, and soon-to-be athletes watch in awe as red and white jerseys flood the field in celebration.

     One of those soon-to be athletes glued to the TV screen at home was current freshman Madison Taylor.

     That Oklahoma victory inspired Taylor to begin her journey with softball. Five years later and she has earned herself a spot on NHS’ varsity softball team and
committed to the Division I softball program at Florida State University (FSU).

     Before high school ball, Taylor started playing softball with recreational leagues. Taylor said middle school was the turning point in her softball career when she realized this was what she wanted to do.

     “Sixth grade was when I started getting really serious about [softball.] I started going to camps and stuff to find out what college I want to go to,” Taylor said.

     Current NHS varsity softball coach, Deke Bullard, says there are many reasons why Taylor is a good fit for the team.

     “Maddie’s skill set and natural ability as well as all her hard work she has put in over the years earned her a spot in varsity,” Bullard said.

     Being a freshman on a varsity team may seem daunting, but Taylor has adjusted well thanks to her teammates.

     “It’s a good group of girls, we have a lot of fun,” Taylor said.

     Team bonding is critical for Taylor as a pitcher, one of two positions that never takes a play off. Taylor says she pitches in order to be constantly involved in the game.

     “I didn’t want [to pitch] for the attention. It’s just that [pitchers] get the ball every play,” Taylor said.

     Though Taylor didn’t brag when talking about her skills, coach Bullard gloats for his new player.

     “Maddie is a great girl. She is a very talented softball pitcher and because of her velocity and spin she makes us better,”
Bullard said.

     Taylor’s pitching and hitting skills piqued the interest of FSU, while their softball program piqued hers. In addition, the FSU Seminoles are known for their success.

     “There’s a really good coaching staff and they’re very humble. The team is very high level,” Taylor said.

     Though success is important to Taylor, she stated she’s happier with the relationships and opportunities softball has provided her.

     “[Softball] has helped my parents pay for college and brought me a lot of close friends,” Taylor said.

       Bullard is hopeful for NHS’s 2018 season and the team’s strong lineup of girls.

     “My coaches and myself are very excited about this upcoming season,” Bullard said. “With our senior leadership, the depth of our junior class, and the talent in our sophomore and
freshman class we have the opportunity to accomplish our goals.”

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