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TEAM:Top player sets in West

SOFTBALL DREAM

Estancia High junior Taylor West leads this year's group of the area's best in softball.

June 14, 2007|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

Softball Dream Team

  • Michelle Tolfa, Corona del Mar

  • Leslee Kaczmarek, Corona del Mar

  • Allie Duernberger, Corona del Mar

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  • Emily Pulaski, Costa Mesa

  • Danielle Morton, Costa Mesa

  • Taylor West, Estancia

  • Josie Flores, Estancia

  • Kiele Brown, Estancia

  • Taylor Brown, Estancia

  • Lina You, Estancia

  • Nicole Amaya, Estancia

  • Jane Messersmith, Newport Harbor

  • Katie McKeon, Sage Hill

  • Lauren Neale, Sage Hill

    Bigger than the baseball she was used to swinging at as the only female Little Leaguer, Taylor West saw the softball coming.

    "It was huge. How can you not see it?" West thought as a freshman after picking up a new sport. "I knew I could hit it, but never far."

    West surprised herself in her junior year at Estancia High.

    The ball traveled far, or as she said, rolled past outfielders. With no fence at Estancia, except for a couple of games, there was nothing keeping West inside the park.

    Estancia Coach Alan Caouette said West hammered a school-record 10 home runs, hit .573 with 46 RBIs and a 1.240 slugging percentage during a historic year for the Eagles.

    For that, West is the Dream Team Player of the Year in softball.

    West contributed to the Eagles claiming their first league championship in school history. They almost finished undefeated in the Orange Coast League until cross-town rival Costa Mesa won the last regular-season game in extra innings.

    "Let's not talk about the last one in league," said West, who when she wasn't hitting home runs, tripled seven times and doubled six times, and her 43 hits were a school best.

    The Eagles (17-8, 8-1 in league) made the postseason for the first time in what Caouette said was at least 15 years.

    All of these achievements and West never expected to lead the team in them.

    The first one shocked West, a three-sport athlete who picked a bat during the middle of the soccer season to get ready for softball.

    Caouette named her a captain on a senior-laden club. Caouette knew the center fielder was ready to assume a big role.

    The snowboarder became a leader. Well, even when Caouette advised his players not to snowboard during the season, West ignored the three-year varsity coach.

    "I didn't let her go," Caouette said. "I found out later that she went. She told me. She came back, saying, 'I'm not hurt.' I said, 'Taylor!'"

    West got away with it. Her production might have had something to do with that. Her batting average was 173 points higher, her slugging percentage more than doubled from the year before.

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