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The Signal's Female Athlete of the Decade: Third Place, Jordan Taylor

Posted: December 29, 2009 10:12 p.m.
Updated: December 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia High's Jordan Taylor was the 2006 state junior softball player of the year and in 2007 was the state's player of the year.

 
Former Valencia High pitcher Jordan Taylor played in the top tournaments against the best players in the country.

She pitched in a tough Foothill League, going head-to-head with teams of which even the worst players are now on Division I college softball rosters.

Somehow she dominated all of them.

I can admit it now.

Covering the pitcher’s games for The Signal was not particularly challenging.

On the drive to Valencia High, I’d usually have my stories half-written in my head. The fact that Valencia was going to win was inevitable.

The fact that it would be by a shutout was just as likely.

It was safe to assume that Taylor was going to notch a ridiculous amount of strikeouts and be incredibly greedy when it came to giving up hits.

The trick was finding a new angle to describe how she did it this time around.

Sometimes that meant counting the number of times other teams were able to make contact.

Other times it might mean counting how many times a Valencia outfielders got to touch the ball.

On many occasions, it meant documenting the ways other teams, knowing they had little chance to do any damage against Taylor, tried approaching her.

Some teams refused to swing. Maybe they’d get some walks.

Others tried trash talking from the dugout. Perhaps they’d get under her skin.

At least one opposing team during her senior season, going up against Taylor for a second time after having been the victims of a perfect game with all but a few batters striking out in the previous meeting, decided to have every single batter attempt to bunt.

It didn’t matter how many outs or how many runners were on base, they decided that catching up to her pitches on traditional swings wasn’t going to happen.

Instead they held their bats out over the plate, hoping the resulting contact would amount to something.

Against anyone else the strategy would seem silly. Against Taylor? Couldn’t blame them.

Andrew Barlam was a Signal Staff Writer from 2004 to 2008.

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