A Standout Sophomore

Photo courtesy of Michele Hoffman

Photo courtesy of Michele Hoffman

She took a step into the spotlight as an eighth grader and was met with interest from colleges and universities. Three years later, Taylor Roby says the attention she got was nerve-racking but also exciting as she had something to look forward to as a high school athlete.

The sophomore pitcher at Bullitt East received interest from Florida State, Ohio State and Jacksonville, but she decided to settle the curiosity by verbally committing to the University of Louisville.

In her mind, Louisville was always the decision. “In my mind, I always thought Louisville would be a great decision because I always wanted to be close to home,” she says. Roby was able to be well acquainted with the Louisville program by “hitting in their backyard,” which went into her decision to become a Cardinal. Now, she considers it to be an honor.

Coach Ricky Hoffman, who has coached at Bullitt East for seven seasons, has had Taylor as a player since she was a seventh grader. In her decision to commit early, Hoffman thinks she wanted to be stress free and relieve the pressure of playing in front of coaches and recruiters night in and night out.

Roby has deserved the attention in recent years. Through 20 games this year as a sophomore, she has gone 19-1 as a pitcher with a .941 ERA, 162 strikeouts and four no-hitters.

But pitching isn’t all she can do. Showing flashes of Babe Ruth, Roby has been a power pitcher and a power hitter. In the box, she has batted a remarkable .617 with 13 doubles, 12 home runs and 39 runs batted in. As a pitcher, she will keep you from scoring and, as a hitter, make it grueling for opposing pitchers to keep her from driving in runs.

“When youa have Taylor Roby on the mound, that leads to our offense,” says Hoffman. “She can shut them down in the first and second inning, and we can come up and score a couple runs.”

The Chargers have averaged 8.0 runs per game, and with Roby’s perpetual pitching success, the team has had 10 shut outs and has held opponents to just 1.4 runs a game.

Persistence has made all the difference. Roby’s work ethic is what has made her be the player she is today.

“I practice all the time. I practice five out of the seven days,” Roby adds. “When we take an off day, I have a personal trainer. I always have to keep the mindset that I have to try and I have to give 110 percent.”

She believes that although she has committed to UofL, she still has to work even harder to get that spot she wants in college.

“People say you don’t have to push hard when you are committed. But I say you do have to push harder when you are committed because you have to strive for what you want to do there.”

In regards to Roby’s work ethic, Hoffman adds, “She is one of the hardest working players I have ever had in my seven years here. She is always throwing; she is always calling me to go hit. Even when we have days off, she wants to go hit, and in the summer, she wants to go hit.”

Roby says she wants to hit for Louisville once she gets there, which is why she has put so much time into her hitting game. Not only that, being a starting pitcher as a freshman is another goal. With two more years to grow stronger and smarter, Hoffman likes her chances to start as a freshman.

“We know she is an overpowering pitcher, and we’ve been working a lot more on her change up. That is going to progress as she gets stronger and older. She is only a sophomore and is learning what her body can do for her. It is just learning more and more about the game. I truly think with two more years of growing and getting mentally stronger, she will be able to start her freshman year at UofL.”

Until then, Roby wants to continue to make history at Bullitt East. The Chargers won their first 16 games this year – the best start to a season in school history. As the No. 5 ranked team in the state of Kentucky and with a seamless pitcher like Roby on their side, a district and regional championship and run in the state tournament is well within Bullitt East’s grasp. VT