August is an exciting month if you’re a fan of America’s pastime. Is there anything that captivates even the most casual of sports fans more than the Little League World Series, which ramps up at the end of the week?
At the professional level, some teams are jockeying for position in their respective divisions after last months trade deadline. Others will be calling up promising young prospects over the next month or so in hopes of getting a glimpse into their future.
While the Women’s College World Series ended over two months ago, the Pittsburgh Panthers are already gearing up for next spring. I had the opportunity to ask senior shortstop McKayla Taylor a few questions about what we can expect from Pitt in 2018.
Q1: What are you currently doing in the offseason to prepare for your senior season?
“This offseason I have been doing whatever needs to be done in order to put myself in the best position to get better for the team. Whether it's taking ground ball reps or consistently going through the drills Coach Holly individually gave us to help improve our offensive and defensive game. Along with the drills on the field, I have made sure I kept up with our lifting and conditioning schedule that we were given because I feel that is a very important factor in order to excel on the field.”
“Aside from the physical aspect, I have been reflecting a lot on the mental and leadership aspect of my game. Just taking the time to figure out what areas I need to improve on and how I can come out this season a better leader and teammate.”
Q2: As a senior, are you looking to add more facets to your game or at this point is it just polishing the skills you have?
“Even though I am a senior, I feel there is always room for growth. With that being said, I have the mindset of going out to work every day to improve every aspect of my game. I will be ready to do whatever is needed of me that is best for the team.”
Q3: As a shortstop but also a consistent hitter, would you rather go 0-4 in a game or commit an error in the field?
“While both of these sound like a very unproductive game, throughout the years I have come to learn that an 0-4 day at the plate or committing an error at shortstop doesn't always mean you didn't contribute that game or didn't improve either. Even if you go 0-4, it doesn't mean you didn't have productive at-bats or have a quality at-bats as we like to call them. We are taught to not look at how many errors we commit or our batting average for that game. As long as you are failing forward and learning from these mistakes.”
Q4: What can we expect from the Panthers this upcoming season?
“This upcoming season the Panthers are ready to build on the things that didn't quite go our way last season and just come out ready to compete at our full potential. Expect us to be work hard day in and day out in order to reach our goals that we talk about together as a team and work to figure out how we can achieve them. We know what we need to do to get things done moving forward and I am excited for what this season has in store for us.”