Taylor Westmoreland has raised eyebrows on the diamond all summer long.
The rising senior at Cedartown High School picked up two massive honors in the last couple weeks. Westmoreland was heralded as one of the best players in a national softball tournament on Independence Day, then earned her first scholarship last week.
Westmoreland, who earned Second-Team All-Region accolades a season ago, has been a do-it-all player for the Lady Bulldogs over the last several seasons. The talented catcher also plays summer travel ball with Georgia Impact.
“My summer on the diamond has been a blessing,” Westmoreland said. “This summer has pretty much been all showcase tournaments, which has given me many opportunities to show my skills in front of college coaches. I’ve really worked on my demeanor towards failing, so it was all about keeping a positive energy flowing through my team even if I didn’t succeed offensively or defensively.”
Georgia Impact was invited to play in the prestigious Colorado Sparklers Tournament, which was held from June 27-July 3. Thanks to Westmoreland’s positive energy and leadership, her team shined out west.
“The Colorado Sparklers Tournament was a very fun experience,” Westmoreland said. “Before I got the opportunity to go play there, I had to prove to my new coaches that I had what it took to be there. This team is filled with positive and hardworking girls, so being on this team makes me work even harder than before to earn my spot in the lineup. Each girl works hard every day to help with their outcome in the games, and it all pays off in the end.”
At that tournament in Aurora, Colo., Georgia Impact finished 10-0-0. The Peach State standouts were the undefeated champions of that nationally recognized showcase.
“Traveling to a different state to play teams we’ve never faced is always a challenge, but it puts us to the test on how hard we can compete to win in the end,” Westmoreland said. “It felt great to be able to help my team accomplish our goal of winning, and I’m so glad we got to come out on top as champions.”
As a key member of the championship team, Westmoreland’s efforts did not go unnoticed. The Cedartown native hit .545 with two home runs against some of the best travel-ball talent in the nation. As a result, Westmoreland was named to the Second-Team All-Tournament list and was ranked the 39th best hitter out of 1100 total players that competed that week.
“I had no clue I was even a part of the rankings until my coach had given me a call to congratulate me,” Westmoreland said. “When I first looked at it I was 47th, but waking up the morning after the championship and refreshing the page to see that I had moved up to 39th sent many feelings through me. I was also very happy to make the Second-Team All-Tournament List and am glad I finally got to mark off some of my goals.”
Westmoreland’s stellar summer was not finished after that trip to the Centennial State. The upcoming senior camped at Lee University, a Division II school with a strong softball program, on July 12. She stuck around the next day to check out the college’s campus in Cleveland, Tenn.
Once again, the Lady Bulldog showed out. Of nearly 30 campers in attendance, Westmoreland finished with the best home-to-home time, overhand velocity, and batted-ball exit velocity marks.
“I was just beyond blessed to be invited to their camp the day before my visit,” Westmoreland said. “The camp was amazing and I got to show them all of my skills on their field. The day of my visit, I got to tour their campus and have lunch with the coaches. After lunch, we went to the Athletics Office and had a great conversation.”
During that conversation, Westmoreland picked up her first scholarship offer.
“The feeling was indescribable,” Westmoreland said. “Once they offered me, I felt like my journey was just beginning. Getting this offer from a great Division II school made me feel like I had made it and had accomplished what I’ve always wanted to do.”
With the 2022 travel ball season winding down, Westmoreland has had the chance to rejoin her Lady Bulldog teammates and coaches for preseason practices. In their second year under head coach Jaime Monroe, Cedartown is looking to make it back to Columbus for the GHSA Softball State Championship Series.
“So far this preseason has gone really well,” Westmoreland said. “We’ve put in many hours of work on conditioning ourselves for the season. There have been many early mornings spent with my team, running all around the parking lots and school to boost our endurance.”
The senior leader said that her goal for the 2022 season is to win each game, one at a time, and grind with her team to do their best. “With this being my senior year, I would like for us to go out with a bang and go to state once again,” Westmoreland said. “I would like for my team to stay positive throughout the season and help each other do the best and be the best they can for one another. We have to do it all as a team, not ‘every man for themselves.’”
Westmoreland also wanted to shout-out her entire family and all her coaches for helping her get to this point, for “pushing me to be my best at my worst, and for believing in me when I was at my lowest.
“Thank you as well to everyone in Cedartown who has believed in me and supported me throughout my journey,” Westmoreland said. “I can’t wait to take the field at CHS again this year. I feel like we have a really strong team this season and if we use our abilities, we will be just fine.”