There is no guarantee for a happy ending in sports, but Walker High School outfielder Taylor Lockwood said she has a good chance to get one.
Lockwood, an LSU signee, is one of several Baton Rouge area players selected to play in the Louisiana High School Coaches Association Softball All-Star games this weekend.
“I really didn’t know much about the all-star games until some girls from my school got the chance play in them before this year,” Lockwood said. “I never got to go to the games, but I thought it was such a neat idea. You get one last chance to play as a high school player.
“My team didn’t go to the state tournament or do some of the things other teams got to do. So this is a nice chance for me to wrap everything up for my high school career in one weekend. I’ll get to play with some of my friends and play against some really good competition.”
Players report to Louisiana College in Pineville at 10 a.m. Friday to begin their LHSCA Softball All-Star weekend. Games are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday. Many Baton Rouge area players, including Lockwood, are set to compete for the East squad.
Lockwood’s Walker team lost to eventual Class 5A state champion Ouachita in the regional round, meaning she didn’t get the statewide exposure some other seniors got. She hit .551 with a .602 on-base percentage, 21 RBIs and 42 stolen bases to go along with a .979 fielding average.
“Taylor really is a student of the game,” Walker coach Nicole Dufour said. “She’s a slapper, but she doesn’t try to put the ball in play anywhere. She studies the defense, and she knows what to do with certain pitches.
“Defensively, she covers so much ground with her speed. There were times the ball would get hit a long way in her direction and I’d take my eye off it and starting getting ready for us to come into the dugout to hit. There was never any doubt in my mind that she’d make the play.
“I can’t wait to see what she does at LSU. Taylor is the kind of kid who works hard all the time and finds ways to get better. Her future is a bright one.”
But while many seniors are off on senior trips, Lockwood chose to stay home to prepare for the LHSCA weekend. Armed with LSU’s summer workout program, she has been busy with speed training and strength training, along with the other fundamentals.
“I got LSU to send me the workout a little early so I could get started,” Lockwood said. “I’m following that, and I also go somewhere and hit every day. I want to make sure I’m ready.”
The LHSCA games will give Lockwood a chance to play one more time with Walker teammate Grace DeLee, who is a Southeastern Louisiana signee, and two summer softball teammates from other schools, Payton Gremillion of Live Oak, and Northshore’s Sydney Bourg.
“This is a competitive and a social thing,” Lockwood said. “I look forward to meeting all the players from other schools that I don’t know. The best scenario for me would be to make new friends. And I want to play well.”