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Wright signs with ETSU

After a high school career that spanned the United States, Taylor Wright is college bound within the region.
The Unicoi County High School graduate made her college choice official on Friday, Aug. 14, by signing a letter of intent to play for East Tennessee State University.
Wright was going to continue to don the blue and white, for the University of Kentucky, until ETSU made a push for the slugger. The graduate is expected to be a first baseman for the Lady Bucs.
“I wanted my family to be at my games,” Wright said on Friday. “That’s just a big part of me … my family. My sister (Lexie) goes there; my whole family went there, so it’s a big opportunity for me to continue to see them.”
The Lady Blue Devil brought the broom stick during her career, knocking in 35 home runs at the varsity level and finished with records in the nation. Wright tied for eighth in the nation in home runs and third in Tennessee for a single season, according to records provided by the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS).
“She can really hit,” UCHS softball head coach Grady Lingerfelt said. “She has a lot of power, is a great player, a joy to coach and nice to be around. (ETSU) is getting a good one, for sure.”
Taylor wrapped up 2015 with a Lady Blue Devil softball team that won four different regular season tournaments before coming up just shy of the state tournament. Wright finished with a .580 batting average in the regular season with 15 home runs and 50 RBI.
A junior season was out of the question for Wright, due to an ACL injury, but the experience helped her moving forward in her career, she said.
“I definitely got discouraged,” she said. “I was afraid I wouldn’t be as good when I got back, but it pushed me to be better than I ever was before. My mom, my dad and all my friends helped me during that time and, of course, God helped me out in the recovery process so I knew I could come back and be better than ever.”
Along with the career at UCHS, Wright blazed a trail with travel ball teams which have aided her transition to the college level, she said.
“This summer I had a chance to play travel ball and we went to nationals,” she said. “It was a whole different level for me; it was like the college level. It was really challenging, but at the same time, we knew it was going to prepare us for college ball.”
Leah O’Brien Amico, who coached Wright on the USA softball team in 2013-2014, is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and had praise for her former player’s decision.
“Taylor is a talented athlete who will help ETSU softball on and off the field,” Amico said. “She has a lot of power that will contribute to offensive production. Taylor also competes with a winning mentality due to her success throughout her career.”
Wright was also joined by friends and upcoming teammates at ETSU – Tiffany Laughren and Kaitlyn Patsel.
Lady Blue Devils at ETSU are nothing out of the ordinary with the most recent batch coming from graduates Mikayla Treadway and Whitley Hensley.
“They can see that it is possible,” Lingerfelt said about upcoming Lady Blue Devils aiming for the collegiate level. “They can see that they can do it, too, if they work hard enough. Taylor and Tiffany have worked hard throughout their entire careers and they’ll both be really good players for ETSU.”