PARKERSBURG -Parkersburg High School senior softball standout Taylor Beckley has been a part of one of the biggest turnarounds in Big Reds sports history.
Her freshman year, the PHS softball team won just two games.
"If we won,'' she said, "there was a big celebration.''
Now, after winning a school-record 15 games last year, PHS expects to win.
It's players like Beckley and a relatively new staff led by head coach Ron Perdue that have changed the mindset.
Beckley, a first-team all-Mountain State Athletic Conference selection and a special mention all-state honoree, is looking forward not only to her senior season at PHS but also to continuing her softball career at West Liberty State University, to who she recently committed.
"I really liked the campus there,'' said the daughter of Bart and Debbie Beckley. "I liked the coaches and all the girls.''
Beckley was recruited by virtually every school in the Mountain State. Coach Perdue understands why.
"Taylor is one of the toughest-minded girls I've ever coached,'' he said. "She's a competitor who really enjoys what she is doing and knows what she is doing. She is a very intelligent player.''
Beckley came to PHS as a third baseman. But Perdue felt she looked more comfortable at second base and suggested she move there. Then, when PHS needed help in the outfield, he had Beckley play there. As long as she was helping the team win, she accepted the moves both with a smile and a determination to become the best player she could be at the new position.
Beckley grew up playing travel ball. She would play baseball and/or softball. She wanted to compete and learn the game and anyone who has watched her play knows she has accomplished those missions.
Beckley is a regular at the Elite Sports Center, where she spends a great deal of time working with trainer Stacy Houser on her conditioning as well as her athleticism.
She also manages to hold down a job at the law offices of Ginny Conley, where she is soaking up all the knowledge she can as her career goal is to be a lawyer.
Beckley has been the No. 2 hitter in the batting order since Perdue became the head coach. Last year, she carried a .360 average thanks to the ability to be either a slap or a contact hitter.
Naturally, her senior season at PHS will be a special one as it is the last time she will play with most of her teammates. Beckley also hopes it is special in that PHS wins a sectional championship and makes it to the regional.
Given the growth of the Big Reds program her first three seasons, don't count out Parkersburg, where softball is on the move.