AC News Service - It took just one swing – albeit a big one – to prove to Zach Taylor he was more than good enough to play baseball at the junior college level.
Back in February, the Angelina College sophomore, then playing in one of his first games as a Roadrunner, blasted a two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift the Roadrunners to a 5-4 win over Wharton. That bomb didn't just give his team a lift; it proved to the young man from Georgetown he had what it takes to make an impact.
"That came early in the season, and it gave me the confidence I needed to know I could compete at this level," Taylor said.
Now Taylor will get the opportunity to advance to yet another step in his baseball career, having committed to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Islanders and will don their uniform beginning in the fall of 2012.
"One of my good friends from high school went there, and he had nothing but good things to say about it," Taylor said. "I got a really good feel for it over some of the other offers I had.
"I like getting this commitment done early so I can just focus on playing ball in the spring."
That one-game confidence boost proved instrumental in Taylor's overall season: He hit .328 with a .457 slugging percentage, finishing with four homers and 25 RBI. Taylor also solidified the middle infield for AC head coach Jeff Livin, spending most of the year at shortstop after receiving some baseball tutoring from noted baseball guy Bob Lowery.
"I know in high school, I was known for being scared of the ball," Taylor said. "So I guess having (Lowery) coming here and helping me work on my infield skills has been one of the best things I could have done. He helped make me a much better player."
Taylor also credited Roadrunner coaches Livin and Rich Martinez with developing the understanding necessary to hone his overall baseball skills.
"I got some great coaching here at AC," Taylor said. "They taught me to just go to work, to stop trying to rely on whatever skills I have or don't have and just get busy trying to get better. In high school there were things I could more or less cruise through, but when you get here you realize you can never stop learning. These coaches really push that."