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Daily Pilot Newport-mesa Softball Dream Team:

Taylor-made for greatness

SOFTBALL: Estancia senior, headed to Cal State Fullerton, is tops in Newport-Mesa area for second straight season.

June 19, 2008|By Matt Szabo

The numbers may not tell the whole story for Taylor West, but they definitely don’t lie.

Fifteen home runs this softball season for the Estancia High senior, breaking her own school record she set as a junior. Twenty-six longballs for her career, another total believed to be a Newport-Mesa record.

West has displayed power not seen in the area since Ann Marie Topps, who went on to play at the University of Oregon, was crushing the ball for Costa Mesa in 2003.

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West batted .557 this year and slugged 1.537, helping Estancia win its second straight Orange Coast League title. She also tallied nine triples and a team-high 50 runs batted in.

“I just got back into my mode of releasing early,” West said. “I wasn’t expecting [all the home runs]. It just felt nice hitting the ball that far, beating last year’s record.”

But again, that’s not the whole story for West, the Daily Pilot Dream Team Player of the Year for the second straight year.

Co-Coach Tommy Rausch was impressed with how the team captain, one of three for the Eagles, displayed a brand of quiet leadership. Nothing new for the senior West, a three-sport athlete who accumulated 12 combined varsity letters in golf, soccer and softball.

“She’s a winner,” Rausch said. “I think she was the player on the team that everyone looked to for a sense of direction. She built off the numbers that she had last year and had a tremendous year again.”

West, a first-team All-Orange Coast League selection who plans to walk on at Cal State Fullerton, also led Estancia with her glove. The Eagles had little experience in the outfield other than West in center field, but she made enough highlight-reel diving plays to make up for it.

“She anchored our outfield,” Rausch said. “She took away a lot of extra-base hits.”

The Eagles could put sophomore Amy Hartwell No. 2, West No. 3 and senior Abby Koff No. 4. The potent trio, all of whom hit better than .500, helped Estancia score nearly 11 runs per game.

West, Koff and fellow senior Haylee Whitney, who hit fifth, were all team captains.

“We took the role of guiding the girls,” West said. “We were trying to set an example, show the girls that we had the heart to win league. It was nice having everyone on the same page.”

But it was West who had the power numbers that could jump out at opponents, sort of like the ball jumping off of her hot bat.

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