Taylor talks recent Evansville signingNovember 30, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
HUNTINGBURG — Chase Taylor attracted attention to play baseball at different NCAA Division I programs in the state and around the country, and while the University of Evansville wasn’t the biggest campus size to offer him, that’s where he elected to sign his letter of intent a couple of weeks ago.
“U of E is just the perfect fit for me,” the Southridge senior catcher said. “I didn’t want to go very far from home. I wanted to be able to play for the community that’s gotten me to the point I am, and just kind of stay close…If people wanted to come watch, do that and continue the sport that I love, it’s great. There’s no other community that I’d rather play for and play in front of than the one I am in right now.”
Taylor has had dreams of playing at the Division I level since around the time he was in fifth and sixth grade. He knew he had to put a lot of hard work to get to this level — emphasizing how important it was to maintain his love of the sport. It wasn’t always easy being able to play in a tournament every weekend, perhaps in a different state. But he kept plugging away — not letting the burnout overcome him.
He began playing travel baseball when he was seven, and started playing bigger travel ball from around the time he was 11. Taylor loves the competitive factor of the game, how it’s a team sport.
“I like the position I play, I like catching because I can see the whole field,” he said. “I’m kind of the field general in terms (of) I get to see everything, I try to command what goes on a little bit. Baseball has always been a love, and I really don’t know why. It’s just always sat with me well, and I’ve always enjoyed playing it — no matter where I am or what I’m doing.”
Taylor will be also be teammates with senior battery mate Ethan Bell of the Raiders. The catcher told the Herald Monday that the chemistry comes from the friendship they enjoy together outside of school, and things flow more naturally for him by getting to do stuff with Bell outside of school and outside of baseball.
He is looking to getting a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and interested in being a construction manager someday.
Taylor currently is not involved in a Winter sport at Southridge, but told the Herald on Monday he’ll make his decision later this week. He’s keeping active with baseball, though, and is looking to put on muscle before he joins the Purple Aces his freshman year.
He knows how hard he’ll have to keep working once he gets there, and he’ll try to help turn things around for a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2016. Taylor knows how big leadership will factor into that — noting that he hasn’t had a losing season in high school, and a winning season should mean something.
However, prep baseball isn’t over yet. Taylor will get one last shot at bringing a state baseball championship to Huntingburg after runner-up finishes in Class 2A in 2018 and 2019, and not getting to play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling spring sports. Southridge is set to be in Class 3A in 2021, just like the football team has been these last two years.
“I think this could be our year,” Taylor said. “I think freshmen/sophomore years were our years, too — we just didn’t capitalize. And that’s sports, that’s baseball, that happens. It is what it is, and we got to move on. So, not having a junior year and getting to come back our senior year — our last year — should be motivation enough.”
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