Taylor Carter will tell you there are some things she doesn’t do well.
She’s not a shortstop, she’s not very good at being a leader and her hitting this spring is not what it should be, the Northview senior told the Tribune-Star this week.
Most high school softball players would probably love to have Carter’s problems. “I set my standards and goals really high,” she said.
And if her achievements so far this spring aren’t up to her standards, maybe that means she’s about to break loose. There couldn’t be a better time for that.
Within the next two weeks the Knights wrap up their Western Indiana Conference schedule — their loss at West Vigo on Monday made them 1-1, but the other four WIC opponents are coming up quickly — and they play the Big Four Tournament on Saturday at Terre Haute North.
Northview finished in a three-way WIC tie with Edgewood — tonight’s opponent, weather permitting — and Brown County last spring, and is defending Big Four champion.
“It’s exciting, but it’s kind of bittersweet,” Carter said in looking forward to those games. “This is my last [season].”
Coach Bethany Jones of the Knights says Carter thinks she has “struggled a little bit offensively” this spring, but Carter had a junior season that spoiled everyone, winning Tribune-Star Athlete of the Year honors for spring sports.
So far this year she’s batting .480, leads her team with six homers and 17 RBIs and has struck out just once. She hasn’t pitched as often, but going into the West Vigo game she was 6-3 with a 1.66 earned run average and had struck out 105 batters in 63.1 innings, while walking only nine.
“I’d like [that batting average] to be a little higher,” Carter said. “I’m pleased with my pitching.”
And although she claims not to be a shortstop — that’s the other job she splits with pitcher/infielder Whitney Halfhill — she’s had just one error all season with a .962 fielding percentage.
Expect her to get busier in the circle soon, particularly against WIC foes.
“First and foremost there’s the conference,” Jones said this week.
Because a 22-6 season a year ago didn’t pay off in a sectional title, Carter’s pitching time has been limited against potential postseason tournament foes this year.
“We need a sectional,” Carter said. “I would like to get it for Jones, and for everyone else on the team.”
Tuesday’s West Vigo game left the Knights with a 9-7 record, but the championship of the recent Jasper Invitational showed that the team still has potential to cause plenty of trouble for other teams in the next few weeks.
Expect Carter to lead the way, even though she claims to be reluctant to do so. Remember, however, that her standards are high.
“I’ve tried to be more vocal, give positive feedback,” she said. “[The other Knights] have been encouraging me … we’re a lot closer [as a team] this year … a lot of positive things.”
“Being a senior, she’s really stepped into a leadership role,” Jones said of Carter. “She’s a lot more vocal … she’s leading the team like we want her to.”
“We all worked the whole summer getting ready for this season,” Carter said.
Last year’s sectional was a disappointing one for the Knights and also for both Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South. All three Wabash Valley team went into it with at least 20 wins and high hopes, only to see Plainfield win it — and a few weeks later win the Class 4A state championship.
“Our sectional is really hard and challenging,” Carter noted, “but if we play to our potential, we can make it far … if we have confidence, I know we can do it.”