TOM BEAN — From the moment she stepped into the lead-off spot in the lineup four years ago, Taylor Williams hasn’t stopped hitting.
Her production has been just as consistent as it has been proficient in contributing to Tom Bean’s success.
“Everyone pushes me to be the best I can be and I try to push myself to be that consistent,” Williams said. “Everyone expects it from me. I expect it from myself.”
The senior infielder is the latest in a string of Lady Tomcats to continue their careers at the next level as Williams signed her letter of intent to play softball for Northwestern State University.
She chose the Division I program in Natchitoches, La. during her freshman year and never wavered on that decision.
“I had other options and those options seemed good,” Williams said. “It was a different feeling. I felt so good about the reason when I made it. The coaches were a big part of it. They made me feel very at home as soon as I got there.”
Last season Williams shifted from second base to shortstop and hit .554 with 20 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 27 RBI, 43 runs, 17 steals and a .600 on-base percentage as the Lady Tomcats went 16-9 and reached the region quarterfinals before losing a series to region runner-up and district rival Honey Grove.
She was first-team all-district, honorable mention all-state and a Texas Girls Coaches Association All-Star.
The upcoming season is another chance to add to a legacy of success.
“I expect it to be the best last season I can have,” Williams said. “We’re committed to keeping the Tom Bean tradition going.”
This past summer she helped her club team, Excel Elite, win the USA Softball Gold Nationals with a 9-0 record at the 18-and-under tournament.
As a sophomore she hit .532 with 13 doubles, nine triples, four homers, 26 RBI, 38 runs, 20 steals and a .578 on-base percentage for second-team all-state accolades.
In her freshman season, Williams batted .586 with 13 doubles, four triples, 22 RBI, 43 runs, 16 steals with a .633 on-base percentage to earn first-team all-state honors as Tom Bean advanced to the region final for the second time in program history, and first in five years, before losing to eventual Class 2A state champion and district rival Bells.
Northwestern State went 30-27 last season and 15-12 in the Southland Conference to place sixth in the standings. The Lady Demons finished 2-2 in the conference tournament.
The program had its most wins since 2015, when it had 36 in capturing the Southland regular season crown, and it was the fifth 30-win campaign in the last 11 years. The conference victories were also the most since 2015.
In 2013 and 2014 the Lady Demons won the Southland Conference tournament title and reached the NCAA Tournament. The program has won five conference titles to qualify for the postseason.
“I’m definitely more the type of player — wherever they need me I’m ready to play there,” Williams said. “They see me as an outfielder-middle infielder. Whatever they want me to do is fine.”