HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State softball freshman Taylor Beshears zipped past the program’s single-season RBI record in early April.
With the postseason beginning for Wallace State on Friday, Beshears’ RBI total now sits at 80 and counting as the Lady Lions seek their second straight Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC)/Region 22 tournament championship, eighth in 10 seasons, and 10th overall.
“This season has been a lot of fun, and I don’t think we’ve played our best yet. I never had a goal of breaking the RBI record, but it was a cool feeling once I passed it,” said Beshears, a Hewitt-Trussville graduate. “The team counts on me to drive in runs and get big hits. I’m down on myself if I don’t get the big hit.”
In a 7-5 victory over Calhoun on April 7, with an RBI single, Beshears surpassed the previous school record of 74 RBIs set by Katie Gentle in 2013.
Beshears has been a force in the Wallace State lineup all season, carving out one of the top individual campaigns in program history. She’s hitting .455 with 13 homers and a conference-leading 80 RBIs. Her .455 average is good for third in the league, and she leads the conference and Lady Lions in runs scored (60), doubles (30) and triples (8). Beshears has also added 19 stolen bases and registered a .858 slugging percentage.
“Taylor Beshears is a ballplayer. She’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen and can play any position on the field. We’ve counted on her all year to produce runs,” said Wallace State interim softball coach Jeff Benson. “She doesn’t care where she hits in the lineup. I can put her at the leadoff spot or the three hole. She’s as competitive as they come and just wants to hit and play hard.”
In addition to breaking the RBI record, Beshears’ 30 doubles are a Wallace State single-season record, surpassing Melissa Stewart’s 26 doubles in 2004. Beshears is fourth all-time with 96 hits in a single season. Rachel Fleming collected a school-record 115 hits in 2006.
Wallace State (44-20) enters the ACCC/Region 22 tournament in Alabaster as the North Division’s top seed for the 11th season in a row. The Lady Lions have a first-round bye and play either Alabama Southern or Central Alabama at noon Friday.
Wallace State’s offense averages nearly seven runs per game, leading the conference with 432 runs scored. Wallace Community College-Dothan is next with 356 runs scored.
Beshears and sophomores Katie Parr and Molli Garcia lead Wallace State with 13 homers apiece. Sophomore Shelby Brown has added 12 bombs and 50 RBIs.
Garcia is also hitting .388 with 38 RBIs, and Parr has a .364 average with 44 RBIs.
Wallace State also leads the conference with 111 doubles.
Beshears, a 1st-team All-State selection as a senior at Class 7A Hewitt-Trussville, verbally committed to play at the University of Arkansas while in high school.
Meanwhile, Amber Hammonds, Beshears’ high school teammate and friend, committed to play for Wallace State. Ultimately, Beshears’ plans to play for Arkansas didn’t materialize, and she chose to play college ball closer to home. Wallace State became a fit for Beshears with a little nudge from Hammonds.
“Amber and I are very good friends. I knew she was coming here (Wallace State), and I was sold when I visited campus for the first time,” said Beshears, who has spent a good chunk of the season playing third base.
If Wallace State’s recent postseason success is any indication, Beshears has multiple games to add to her single-season records and may chase down even more.
Winning a 10th title for the program is all that’s on her mind though.
“I’m excited to see what we can do at the tournament. We are ready for the challenge and know it’s us against the ballpark,” Beshears said. “I love the competition. It makes you want to fight harder for your team and play for the sophomores who won’t wear this uniform next year.”
The three-day tournament concludes Sunday with the championship game set for 1 p.m. The winner advances to the NJCAA Division I softball championship at St. George, Utah from May 18-21.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit http://athletics.wallacestate.edu/
Wallace State Community College
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