|Softball standout Evans signs with Midland|
|February 05, 2016 Frank Marquez|
Courtesy photo Gering’s Taylor Evans last week signs with Midland University to play softball. Her father and travelling team coach J.T. Evans looks
A mild-mannered Taylor Evans doesn’t say much, but what she does on a softball field speaks volumes.
Last week on Jan. 27, the 17-year-old Gering senior signed with Midland University in Fremont, Nebr., to play softball on a four-year partial scholarship, but she doesn’t know where she’ll be on the Warriors roster. This past year, at 5-foot-10, she played catcher and first base in her only year playing for the Gering Bulldogs softball team. She used that height to her advantage, compiling a fielding average of .975.
The Warriors will be getting a solid if not consistent hitter.
Taylor has proved she can swing the pine. She helped the Bulldogs to a 20-12 overall record last fall, going yard three times at the Aurora (Nebr.) Tournament in August, in the first month of Gering’s season. She hit three homers against St. Paul and one against Cozad, which contributed to her .440 batting average for the season. The Bulldogs made it all the way to the championship round before being ousted by Cozad, 5-2.
Taylor said she has worked at and played every position, with pitching as her least favorite. That hard work on fielding and batting has paid off, gaining her recognition at the next level. “You don’t always have a guarantee you’re going to play in college,” she said. “I decided about three or four years ago that I wanted to play softball in college.”
Taylor said she based her decision on Midland’s strong program in athletic training. In Fremont, she plans to major in sports medicine.
Taylor started competing in sports at the tender age of 8.
Although she’s strongest in softball, she also competed in track for two years, competing in the jumping events. She considered other colleges for track, but Midland offered the best scholarship opportunity. She said, she chose softball “because it’s easy to understand, and it’s fun.”
She said her ability to pick up a scholarship after only one year says a lot about the Gering softball program. She’s excited about her college career, as not many student athletes land college scholarships.
Gering Softball Head Coach Tim Gonzales said he’d never coached her before, but she played a lot of softball on traveling teams. “She came out and led the team,” he said. “She has strong hands, is very athletic and was a great player for the season she was with Gering. It was like she had been in the program for a long time.”
Taylor will be coached by Midland Softball Head Coach Mike Heard, who was named the school’s head softball coach in the summer of 2015. He is the Warriors’ fourth head coach since the program was reinstated in 1989.
“He seems pretty straight forward,” Taylor said. “He schedules morning conditioning, a mandatory team breakfast and practice in the evenings.”
She’s become accustomed to early mornings and long days, according to her father J.T. Evans, who helps to coach her travelling team, the Gering Logoz. “She had no choice,” he said.
Her mother Genie, added that Taylor, “started playing softball because she needed something to do in the summer.”
Taylor started her sports career playing for the Gering Girls Softball Association and continued to play with the association until age 12. The she joined the Logoz team, and began playing in the summer traveling league, during which time she played mostly teams in Colorado, 14 and under, and 16 and under.
With regard to improving her game, J.T. said, “There’s not much we can do, except sharpen her skills.” Overall, the girls play between 60 and 70 games a year, for both the travelling squad and the Gering High team.
“They bond better, they get that extra time to bond,” Genie said. “We’re a softball family, lots of sisters and lots of family, which is how Taylor sees her teammates, as sisters.”