Greenwood pitcher Victoria Taylor ended her junior season by throwing a shutout as the Lady Bulldogs claimed the 6A state championship.
Taylor kept up her tremendous pitching to start her senior season. In Greenwood’s opening two games, she tossed perfect games and also threw a no-hitter in the third game of the season, something Taylor said completely took her by surprise.
"For (my previous three seasons), I hadn’t been at my best in the beginning so I did not expect to start out this good at all," Taylor said. "I was very shocked. … It was awesome to start out that way."
She finished with seven no-hitters and three perfect games after having not thrown a perfect game prior to her senior season. Taylor, the Times Record Softball Player of the Year, went 17-5 with two saves and a 1.05 earned-run average while recording 267 strikeouts and walking only 14 batters.
"I was way more confident in my pitches (this season) and I knew that what I had to do for each batter to strike them out," Taylor said. "I was more like educated with my pitching."
Taylor said her best pitching performance actually came in a loss, to eventual 7A semifinalist Rogers at the River City Rumble tournament in Van Buren. Despite the loss, Taylor struck out 22 batters.
But she was a vital part in Greenwood’s 12-game winning streak which put the Lady Bulldogs into the 6A semifinals. In one pivotal late-season stretch against conference foes Van Buren, Siloam Springs and Alma, Taylor threw shutouts in all three games.
The Lady Bulldogs were denied a chance to repeat as 6A champions as Sheridan defeated Greenwood in last week’s state semifinals, avenging last season’s title game loss. But all things considered, the loss took nothing away from Taylor’s time at Greenwood, as her freshman season coincided with the arrival of coach Ronnie Sockey, who helped shape the team into an eventual state title contender, culminating with the 2015 state title.
"I had the best four years with coach Sockey and all the girls," Taylor said. "It was something I’ll always remember and winning state was something I’ll look back on and was one of the really good moments of my high school career."
Taylor now gets ready to continue her pitching career, as she signed with Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.
"They just told me they wanted me to come down there and pitch the way I’m pitching now," she said. "The first time I went to the campus, I fell in love with it, I just knew it was somewhere I wanted to go to and be a part of."
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