Taylor Zordel, freshman shortstop, did not plan on playing softball when she grew up. Despite playing the sport since she was just 5 years old, Zordel always had a love for basketball, and she played more competitive basketball than softball.
“I have always wanted to play basketball – that was always my number one, but I was always too small,” Zordel said. “But I am glad this is what I have chosen.”
At one point throughout her softball career, Zordel stopped playing completely.
“The funny story is I actually quit when I was about 6 years old because I could not get my shoes tied tight enough. But luckily my parents put me back into it or I never would have played,” she said.
Now that she is older, she enjoys softball much more.
In addition to playing softball and basketball in high school at Washburn Rural in Topeka, Zordel used to dance and play golf as well. After having foot surgery when she was a sophomore, Zordel had to quit dance and golf in order to stick to basketball and softball.
Throughout her high school career, Zordel had the chance to compete in state softball four years in a row. Her team won state her freshman year, placed second twice and finished third another time. She also competed in state basketball all four years, winning the tournament her sophomore year.
When Zordel was a junior and senior in high school, she was an All-American in softball. She was also All-State her senior year during basketball.
But not only is Zordel a gifted athlete, she is talented in the classroom as well.
“Academically, I was on the high honor roll every year throughout high school,” Zordel said.
Zordel has also built a close relationship with her teammates and coaches.
“As a freshman, you come in, and you do not know what to expect. You do not know if they are going to like you or not,” she said. “They are a great group of girls, and I could not ask for anything else.”
To her coaches, Zordel is known as a leader. Although they say Zordel is enthusiastic and goofy, they also know they can count on her to be hard-working and lead the team.
“Taylor definitely is someone who is mature for her age,” said assistant coach Alex Hupp. “You tell her something, she knows, and she gives you the eye-contact and feedback that she is listening to you and she is definitely trying to get better. She is trying to step up and see that she can be as good as she wants to be. She definitely shows she is a leader in that sense.”
Zordel’s teammates have taken notice of her leadership qualities as well.
“She always leads by example,” said junior pitcher Lauren Sharp. “She is always up in the dugouts cheering and doing whatever she can for the team.”
Zordel has many nicknames given to her by her coaches and teammates. These nicknames range from Tay-Z and T-Baby, to Taz and Kitty Cat.
“She really loves her cat, like is obsessed with her cat. She has it as her background on her phone, and she has a ‘kitty cat voice,’” Sharp said.
When asked about her nickname, Zordel laughed.
“This is weird, but I have a really big obsession with cats… it is not just my teammates, everybody knows,” Zordel said.
The most important aspect of softball to Zordel is the teamwork.
“I like that it is a team sport, you get to share it with somebody other than just yourself. You are not just winning with yourself, but with your teammates, and it takes the whole team to do that,” Zordel said.