Lauren Taylor is in her second season directing the Harnett Central softball program. And the Elon graduate said it’s special to be back where she pitched in high school.
Harnett Central got off to a 7-4 start but has hit a rough part of its schedule that included series with conference leaders Garner and West Johnston and a tough field in its own spring break tournament. The Trojans are now 8-8.
“We just want to be the kind of team that comes out and competes every single day, every single pitch from start to finish,” said Taylor, who guided Central to a 15-8 finish in her first season at the helm. “We’re going to work hard in every game. We’re heading in the right direction. We just need to do a better job finishing games. I’m proud to be a part of this program in another role. I really enjoyed being here as a player, and I’m enjoying being the coach.”
Taylor said a five-player senior nucleus – outfielders Hayley Waddell and Kristen Taylor and infielders Searria Fisher, Ally Swan and Lea Stewart – has made this group special.
Leadoff hitter Waddell, who will play at William Peace, had her first career homer in a game at Garner, and it was a grand slam.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting that,” said Waddell, who has specialized in the diamond since T-ball. “I just hit it as far as I could. We did a much better job against Garner the second time we played them. We’re not used to losing by 10 runs, but they’re by far the best hitting team we’ve played. The main thing we need to do is be more consistent.”
Kristen Taylor had four hits in that same game.
“I’m just trying to focus and play the best that I can,” said Taylor, who will matriculate at UNC Charlotte in the fall but said she doesn’t plan to play softball there. “This is going to be my last year, so I want it to be my best year. This team has been great. We have a great bond and we all hang out away from softball.”