Sophomore Taylor Walsh helps guide Chartiers Valley softball to 9-1 start

Sunday, April 23, 2023 | 11:01 AM

The Chartiers Valley softball team is loaded with talented upperclassmen, including seniors Zoe and Callie Mangan, Madison Crump, Rylee Prosperi and Mackenzie Manga, along with juniors Marta Gualazzi and Kylie DeSalle.

The Colts have also relied on sophomore Annabelle Helt and freshman Lily Dufill.

However, the future is now for Chartiers Valley, thanks in part to fabulous freshman turned super sophomore Taylor Walsh.

“The key has definitely been all of the time and effort I have constantly put forth towards not just myself, but also for my team,” Walsh said. “During our offseason, I was working out five days a week to stay fit and get stronger, as well as I was either at the batting cages, pitching lessons or at an indoor facility working on my form and persistence to become an overall better player.”

Chartiers Valley coach Chris Lloyd agrees about Walsh’s work ethic.

“Taylor works really hard every day and just wants to get better,” he said. “She put a lot of work in the gym over the offseason with the team and got even stronger. She bonds really well with the girls and has a lot of confidence that just continues to grow.

“She is a great kid and has a lot of hype. Even after practice or games, she might not be satisfied with her performance and has her mom take her to hit or pitch. She has also worked really well at becoming a solid outfielder.”

Walsh is at or near the top in most offensive categories for Chartiers Valley. At the midway point of the regular season, she was batting .536 with a home run and 17 RBIs.

“Taylor adds a lot of power in the middle of our lineup,” Lloyd said. “She is second on our team in RBIs and batting average. She has done a great job at putting the ball in play and making something happen. She is a tough out. Last year she batted ninth and knew her job was to roll the lineup over. This year, she is in the middle of our lineup and has a ton of power.”

The 10th grader is not only raking it at the plate, but she has combined with Zoe Mangan to form a strong 1-2 punch for the Colts (9-1, 6-0 Section 3-4A) in the pitching circle.

“I would say Zoe Mangan and I share a very special bond between both of us being pitchers and being able to share a great relationship on and off the field,” Walsh said. “Zoe and I support and have so much confidence in each other when game time hits, and we are both ready to talk to each other and give each other a rundown of what each batter is like and what to throw them when that batter steps into the box.”

Mangan was 7-1 through nine appearances while Walsh was 1-0 and had a 1.46 ERA in eight appearances.

“Zoe and Tay work really well in the circle,” Lloyd said. “Zoe will start each game and goes through the lineup at least twice, and then I like to go to Taylor to finish the game. They are both really good pitchers and have been really successful. I have a lot of trust in both of them. They throw different pitches and it keeps batters off-balance when they get used to one, then they have to start over when they see a new pitcher.”

Lloyd loves the makeup of the roster and how the team has played through the midway point of section action.

“We have five seniors that have been playing together since they started playing softball. They might have been on different teams in the community growing up, but since seventh grade they have been together. Once they got to high school, they would have all started as freshman, but lost that season to covid.

“We have been to the semifinals the last two years and left with a nasty taste in our mouth. Going into the season, we did not have many holes to fill, so in the offseason we just worked on getting stronger in the weight room, hitting in the cages and since the weather was nice we were able to get outside a lot and work on game situations.”

Now into the second half of Section 3-4A action, Chartiers Valley has a good shot at winning the section crown and earning a high seed in the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs.

“The biggest difference in my team now has definitely been our close bond,” Walsh said. “Everyone is extremely comfortable with each other and we have all become one big family. Before every game, we huddle up and focus in and get out on the field ready to play as everyone has a lot of confidence in each other. I love that we are all able to communicate and talk to each other when the ball is put into play and as each batter gets ready to face the pitcher.”

Lloyd likes what he has seen so far, but realizes there is a lot of work still to be done by the Colts.

“We just need to keep working hard every day and showing up to the field to play our game,” he said. “This team is really deep and has played a lot of softball the past couple of years and in some big games. They know what it takes to win every time they step on the field.”


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