Kansas Lands All-Conference Catcher for 2013 Season

April 17, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – A life-long Jayhawk fan and a standout catcher at Cowley College, Taylor Hatfield has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at the University of Kansas beginning Fall 2012.

One of the top catchers in the Jayhawk Conference each of the past two seasons, Hatfield has garnered junior college experience that will put her in position to make an immediate impact with the Jayhawks this fall and moving into the 2013 season.

“Taylor has a lot of good experience at Cowley, a really good junior college program in Kansas,” head coach Megan Smith said. “She’s been coached by a great coach (Ed Hargrove) and was a highly-recruited player out of high school. Now she’s gained successful college experience and will be ready to step in and be a leader since she will be an upperclassman.”

Guided by Cowley head coach Ed Hargrove, Hatfield was a force as a freshman. In her rookie year, she led the team in batting average (.423), runs scored (47), RBIs (62), triples (eight) and home runs (seven). For her efforts, she was named First Team All-Conference and an all-region performer.

The Arkansas City, Kan., native picked up where she left off in her sophomore season. The Tigers are currently 31-6 in 2012 with Hatfield setting the tone hitting at a .325 clip with two triples, 33 RBIs, 11 doubles and four home runs.

Hatfield, who was named to the Class 5A All-State team three times at Arkansas City High School prior to coming to Cowley, has an acute ability to handle pitching staffs as the Tigers hold the second-best ERA in the school’s division. She, however, barely missed current Jayhawk senior pitcher Ashley Spencer’s two seasons at Cowley as Spencer, an All-American at Cowley, transferred to Kansas prior to the 2011 season.

“She’s very athletic,” Smith said. “That’s one of the things I liked about her when I saw her in high school was her extreme athleticism. She’s a very good defensive catcher and a left-handed hitter, as well. We love to have lefty hitters in our lineup. She’s quick, athletic and a really strong defensive catcher.”

A highly-sought after prospect, Hatfield considered continuing her softball career at Morehead State in Kentucky, but jumped at the opportunity to sign with KU.

“KU has always been my dream school,” Hatfield said in a statement from Cowley College. “I think Cowley helped me get to the level where I could play at KU.”

In the summers, Hatfield played under head coach Mark Griggs for the Wichita Mustangs club team, and will join current Jayhawks, and former Mustangs, Ashley Newman and Morgan Druhan, this fall. Smith is happy to see the once teammates take the field together again and recognizes the importance of landing a life-long believer in Kansas.

“That’s an exciting thing,” Smith said. “Everyone that comes here loves Kansas, but when they’ve loved it all their lives, that’s something special. It’s exciting that she’s going to be a part of our program, a program she loves. A lot of our girls have that. It’s been her dream to be here and we’re so glad she’s going to be a part of our team.”