ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — Talk about a steal.
The West Virginia Wesleyan softball team picked up a new master thief on the base paths, as Meigs senior Taylor Swartz signed her National Letter of Intent to join the Bobcats on Friday inside Meigs High School’s Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium.
Swartz — who has a three-year varsity total of 47 stolen bases in 49 chances — talked about why Division II West Virginia Wesleyan was the right fit for her.
“I’ve always wanted to play softball in college,” Swartz said. “West Virginia Wesleyan’s program is very nice, but besides that, it felt like a home away from home. It’s somewhere that I can grow a little myself, but still be close enough to home.”
With her senior campaign still to come, Swartz has 41 extra-base hits in her prep career. A starting center fielder since her freshman year, Taylor’s career-high stolen base total of 26 came with career-best .557 on-base percentage as a junior.
Also in her junior year, Taylor had a perfect fielding percentage in 33 chances. As a sophomore, Swartz batted .526 with runners in scoring position.
MHS head coach Bryan Swann — who has guided the Maroon and Gold to 52 wins in three years with Swartz on the team — talked about the impact he expects his star leadoff hitter to have on the Mountain East Conference team.
“I believe she’s a D-1 athlete, I’ve told coaches that all along, but sometimes a college is just the right fit for a kid,” Swann said. “I think she found a place that’s a good fit for her, I know she’ll do well there. With us, she came in as a freshman and played center field, and I haven’t looked out an seen anybody like that ever. Every single year, if she’s not the top hitter on the team, she’s near the top.
“She’ll be a kid that can plug in at the next level, she can catch, or she can play outfield for them. I know she can step in at their level — they are a perennial top-10, top-15 D-2 program in the nation — and she can make an immediate impact.”
Swartz — a two-time all-league honoree — was all-district first team selection as junior, after being on the second team as a sophomore. All of Taylor’s softball success came in the same season that she was excelling for the MHS track and field team. A multi-time, multi-event regional qualifier, Swartz was a part of the Lady Marauders 2017 4x100m relay team that was eighth in the state.
Swartz acknowledged her goals once she gets to Buckhannon are primarily in the classroom, but that she’s also looking for an all-around college experience.
“I’m so excited to play at the next level of softball,” Swartz said. “Education is always first, I obviously want to graduate, hopefully with some high grades. But I also want to create memories, long-lasting friendships and hopefully become a starter for West Virginia Wesleyan softball.”
Swartz — who has also competed on the varsity basketball and cross country teams at Meigs — holds a 3.961 GPA, currently placing her 12th in MHS Class of 2019. At Wesleyan, Taylor plans to major in Early Childhood Education, and hopes to become a first grade teacher.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.