Taylor Norman was everything you always wanted to have in a softball player.
She can pitch and pitch very well.
She can hit for both power and for average.
She’s got a good glove.
She’s a good student of the game.
She’s got all of the intangibles.
That’s why she was going to someday make someone a good college softball player.
That day is now as the former Logan High School all-state player and graduated senior has signed on to play collegiate softball at WVU Tech.
Norman, who started for four years for Logan either on the infield or on the mound, helped lead the Lady Cats to four straight Class AAA state softball tournament berths at Vienna.
Norman had a 12-2 pitching record during the 2012 season for Logan with a 1.28 ERA. She was 1-1 in the state tourney, pitching Logan to a 8-0 win over Robert C. Byrd. Logan then was ousted on the final day of the tourney in a 6-0 loss to Parkersburg South, a team which beat Logan 8-3 in the state tourney opener.
Logan closed out the campaign with a 28-7 record.
In Norman’s four years with the Logan softball program, the Lady Cats were 112-23 overall for a .830 winning percentage and won five games in the state tourney. Logan was the state runner-up to St. Albans in 2010 as the Lady Cats were 2-2 at Vienna.
Norman had two hits and drove in three runs in three state tourney games this season. She pitched 11.2 innings and allowed three runs and 14 hits with 11 strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter.
Logan was 30-7 her freshman year, 29-5 her sophomore season and 25-4 in her junior year with the program.
Lady Cats’ coach Randy Robinette said Norman is going to be tough to replace.
“She’s been a great player for four years,” Robinette said. “All of our seniors are going to be hard to replace but nevertheless this is a proud day for her. She’s well deserved and she’s worked hard for it. She was an all-around player — offense, defense and pitching. She has a vast wealth of experience and I’m sure that she will do well over there. She’s a very talented athlete. She can play any place and I’m sure that she will be able to play over there without any problem.”
Robinette said he’s pleased to see another one of his former players get a softball scholarship.
“This is what you try to do. You want to try to get your players a scholarship so they can get some higher education,” he said. “People are looking at our kids and looking at our program. We’ve got five or six players now who are playing college ball.”
Playing in the state tourney four years in a row helped his players get seen on a big stage, Robinette said.
“Absolutely. It helps them get seen because during the season the college coaches don’t get to see that many games. When you get to the state tournament that’s when their season is over,” Robinette said. “They are done at that time, so they get to see them play and that allows you to showcase your talents there. A lot of coaches have been interested in our kids. It’s a great opportunity to play softball and to further your education.”
Norman said she’s looking forward to going to school at WVU Tech and playing for the Golden Bears.
“I’m definitely excited. I can’t wait to get up there and start playing and get used to college life,” Norman said. “I’ll be pitching and playing as a utility player — just where ever they need me.”
Norman said she enjoyed her four years with the Lady Cats’ softball programs, regarded as one of the best in the state.
“I’ve had a lot of pressure on me but it’s been a good experience,” she said. “It has taught me a lot. It was definitely fun and I enjoyed it a lot. I liked playing with the girls on the team.”
Norman said she plans on studying nursing at WVU Tech.
“I’m going to be busy,” Norman quipped.
Norman heads to WVU Tech, an NAIA school which is in transition in its athletics program.
Tech was a longtime member of the WVIAC but left the Division II conference a few years ago to join the NAIA Mid-South Conference.
But WVU Tech is on the move again.
Tech unsuccessfully applied twice to return to the NCAA and WVIAC.
Last November, WVU Tech announced it was leaving the Mid-South Conference effective June 30. It will become an NAIA-affiliated independent team and has applied for admission to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
The USCAA is a national organization for intercollegiate athletic programs of 82 mostly small colleges, community colleges and junior colleges across the United States, stretching from Washington state to Maine. The USCAA holds 11 National Championship tournaments in seven sports. About one-third of its member institutions are in the University of Maine, Penn State, or West Virginia University systems.
WVU Tech women’s softball coach Karin Gadberry said she is happy to have Norman.
“I am looking forward to Taylor joining the Golden Bear softball team and pitching staff,” she said. “She brings a wealth of pitching experience and look for her to contribute immediately on the mound for us.”
Gadberry enters her third season as head coach of the Golden Bears. She is a former collegiate softball catcher at Southeast Louisiana and hails from Puyallup, Wash.