MORGANTOWN — If you see Post 2 slugger Caleb Taylor on the street, you might want to stay out of his way — he’s contagious, after all.
Taylor doesn’t have your run-of-the-mill cold or flu, though. According to him, he caught the hitting virus.
“They say hitting is contagious, and I believe it,” he said. “It’s all about driving home runs.”
In his mind, the better each player can hit, the more runners on base. That allows Post 2 to drive home more runs — that ever so crucial part of baseball.
“We hit the crap out of the ball,” he said. “I practice hitting just about every night.”
The practice paid off, apparently, as Taylor is amongst the leaders at the plate for Post 2 this summer. He’s recorded a team-leading batting average of .439 and slugging percentage of .748 thus far, tallying 47 hits and eight home runs.
“He’s the guy we want at the plate in every situation,” Post 2 coach Tyler Barnette said. “He’s out there barrelling baseballs up; I’ve seen very few who can do it like him.”
According to Barnette, Taylor isn’t just a leader at the plate, either. He has proven to be a leader in the dugout.
“He’s a team leader, and everyone on this team really responds to how he carries himself on the field. When he is energized, everyone else is,” Barnette said. “He’s not just one of the hardest workers, but also one of the better teammates we have. He’s the first to go to a guy and pick him up or calm him down.”
Barnette said having an athlete like Taylor makes his job as a coach easier; those type of athletes are ahead of the curb compared to many teammates.
“He knows the game and the people he plays around. We don’t always have to tell him what to do or coach him as much,” he said. “He plays the game right and goes out every day and works hard; there’s not much more you can ask of a 17-year-old.”
Beyond his leadership qualities and his talent with a bat, there is yet another crucial role Taylor plays for the program – he acts as Post 2’s starting catcher. According to Taylor, it may be the facet of his game he works the most on.
“Catcher takes a lot of hard work. I practice blocking and framing with [Post 2 assistant coach] J.T. Heenan,” he said. “He’s really positive and has helped a lot this year.”
Barnette credits Taylor’s performance at catcher in playing one of the most important roles in the lineup.
“He controls the game very well. We don’t have to worry about the game getting out of hand or pitchers wasting pitches,” he said. “He knows his pitchers, and that helps. The more he can control the game from behind the plate, the better we are as a team.”
Taylor knows the importance of his spot in the field, and he takes it seriously, just as he knows the other eight players on the diamond with him take their roles.
“My team trusts me behind there, and I trust them in the field,” he said. “That’s what makes us a good team.”