Name: Taylor Ward
School: Toms River North
1) How did you get your start in softball?
TW: I started playing softball when I was twelve years old. I played baseball with the boys until I was 12 and then had to stop playing because the boys became bigger, stronger, and faster than me. Around that time period, I had no interest in switching to softball because I did not think that I would enjoy it as much as I enjoyed baseball. I had a lot of people telling me that I couldn’t just stop playing all together, so one day when I was at a family party, a softball coach saw me playing wiffleball with his daughter and he told me to try out for this team, The New Jersey Intensity. I went to the tryouts and they put me on a team. After a couple of the tournaments, I fell in love with the speed of the game and I have been playing softball ever since.
2) Who is/are the role model(s) you look up to and how have they had an effect on you?
TW: My role models are my parents because they have put their lives aside to help me achieve my goals. They have spent countless hours driving me to practice and they have sat through numerous tournaments all over the country to create opportunities for me. They have spent so much money on plane tickets and rental cars, and they have taken many days off of work for me. I can never thank them enough for what they have done and I cannot wait to be able to return them the favor (eventually). I hope to be as selfless as they are when I grow up, and I also hope to be as brutally honest with my children, as they have been with me. They have pushed me since day one and they have taught me that, whatever I work for, I will receive and if I am not happy with what I have received, then I need to work a little harder. My parents explain the reality of a situation to me, and in my family there is no such thing as “sugar-coating”, so they have given me the power to see the best in a situation, but to also acknowledge what I need to improve upon.
3) What is the best piece of advice you have received and who provided it to you?
TW: The best piece of advice I have ever received comes from my first softball coaches from the Jersey Intensity. My coaches, Paula Petrocelli and Krystle Petty, used to run practices for hours and the main idea that they wanted us to focus on was that, “Practice does not make perfect, Perfect practice makes perfect.”
4) Who do you model your game after and why?
TW: Ever since I was little, I have modeled my game after Todd Frazier. He played for Toms River East Little League and when he was twelve years old, his all-star team won the Little League World Series. Being that we played for the same little league and he is such a big name in Toms River I always wanted to be like him when I was playing baseball. We both played for the same travel baseball team called the Black Sox, so he was always a close figure growing up. Now that I play softball, I still model my game after him because he is so humble, yet focused and even though he is well known throughout the country; he is still so appreciative of the people who have helped him along the way and he is still very supportive of his hometown. Being that we live in a time where women are being empowered and “throwing like a girl” is becoming a positive phrase, I like being able to bring the swag of baseball into the game of softball.
5) If you could have anything fall from the sky, what would it be and why?
TW: If I could have anything fall from the sky it would be Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups because they are my favorite type of candy.
6) What’s something people don’t know about you?
TW: This is an extremely tough question and it’s because I’m an open book, but something many people do not know about me is that I am the biggest Harry Potter fan. I used to look forward to when ABC family had its weekend specials, where the channel would play nothing but Harry Potter all weekend.
7) In three years I hope to be….
TW: In three years I hope to be finishing up my junior year at Dartmouth College, where I will also be playing softball. I hope that I will have some internship opportunities. I hope that approaching my senior year, I will be confident in what I want to do after college, and I want to graduate with a degree in either math or the field of science.
8) What’s your favorite part about playing high school softball?
TW: My favorite part of high school softball is the people I have become friends with and the memories we have created. I met some of my best friend through high school softball; Nicole Davis, Chrissy Ribaudo, Sam Salomon and Chelsea Czapkowski. I love playing against my teammates from travel ball and I love being able to hang out with my team everyday. My team is my second family and I love that we can become so close in a matter of a few short months and I know that they will be good friends of mine beyond high school.
9) What are some things we can expect to see from yourself and your team this season?
TW: My team has been working very hard because we have set a lot of goals. At the beginning of the season we each wrote on a note card and it contained one individual goal and one team goal. We aren’t supposed to reveal our goals until the end of the season, so I cannot share that part with you guys, but what I can say is that we all have very high expectations.
10) If not for softball I would probably…
TW: If not for softball I would probably be lost. When I step in between the chalk lines, it is as if all of the worries of the world fade into white noise and I can focus on the sport I love for those two hours. Whether it is a game or practice, softball has the power to change my mood in an instant, so if I had a bad day, softball is the best stress reliever. lost.