Taylor adjusting to college ballJuly 19, 2021
BY COREY STOLZENBACH
HUNTINGBURG - Chase Taylor's final memories of playing for Southridge at Victory Field came as memories of celebration, not of anguish.
What would've been the final out against Alexandria-Monroe in the 2019 Class 2A State Championship didn't happen from a dropped third strike and a high throw on his end to first base. It allowed the Tigers to get back in the game and stun the Raiders in the bottom of the seventh.
But no such heartbreak happened on June 22 in the Class 3A State Championship when Taylor and the Raiders finally earned their blue medals with a 2-0 win over Hanover Central.
"I was more excited about not losing," Taylor said. "I think all of us will say the same about that. We didn't win that one for ourselves, we won that one for the community."
Now, that's in his rearview mirror and it's time to focus on college ball. High school ball may be over for the University of Evansville product, but playing with some of his high school teammates isn't.
Taylor's one of four Southridge alums on the Dubois County Bombers this summer, along with 2019 grad Tucker Schank and 2020 grads Weston Allen and Conner Oxley.
"It's like high school ball - just a little difficult," he said. "It's a big change, but you love playing with the guys you spent so much time with in high school."
Competing as a college player now has its changes for Taylor. He catches for the Bombers, just like he did for the Raiders, but Bombers coach Travis LaMar can't send a courtesy runner out to run for him like Southridge coach Gene Mattingly did in high school. Taylor now runs the bases himself, but it hasn't been the biggest adjustment for him since he's run for himself in summer ball before.
Naturally, the competition he's seeing is greater, too.
"College pitchers are good," Taylor said. "You get one pitch, you better not miss it."
In a way, playing for the Bombers this summer is something of the past and the future colliding into the present for Taylor. He has some of his former high school teammates on the team this year, but he's also with some of his soon to be teammates with the Purple Aces in Adam Euler and personal friend Simon Scherry.
"That was one of the big decisions in where I went to college," he said. "I wanted to play with guys I knew and play early. And I knew going down there, I'd have (a) good relationship with (the) players, and that'd help me out in the process part - just the work that you put in that nobody sees.
"If you got motivation around you, it helps," Taylor continued. "But the focus is working on your own and doing the work nobody else sees on your own time. So, just having that competition, motivation - it'll help a lot."
Taylor's already got one baseball championship under his belt this year, and is aiming for one with the Bombers, too, before he turns his attention to U of E.
"That'd be pretty cool - go out with a bang and start fall ball once school starts," he said.
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