DeKALB – There is something interesting about DeKalb leadoff hitter Abby Taylor.
The sophomore shortstop is a left-handed slap hitter, but she didn’t always hit that way.
Taylor has worked hard over the past eight months to go from a right-handed hitter to a left-handed hitter, and Taylor and the Barbs have seen success because of it. Taylor will be hitting leadoff for the Barbs Tuesday when they take on McHenry in the Class 4A Algonquin Jacobs Sectional semifinal.
“It has been a lot of work,” Taylor said. “A lot practice I have put into it. There has been a lot of hitting lessons and it’s been good.”
Taylor started the season playing shortstop and second base while batting sixth in DeKalb's strong order. However, changes to the lineup have seen Taylor move up to the leadoff spot.
Initially, Morgan Newport was batting first. DeKalb Jeff Davis moved Newport to the No. 3 spot and moved Taylor up in the lineup. There was still a gap with no true second batter.
After watching some Barbs games at the freshman and junior varsity level, Davis brought up Erin Karasewski to varsity. Karasewski has filled that gap in left field and as the team's No. 2 hitter. Taylor, Karasewski and Newport all have speed to set the table for the cleanup hitters.
“That is why we have those three lefties at the top of the lineup,” Davis said. “Hopefully we can play a little small ball with a little bit of speed. Then we have some big hitters coming up after that. We have some very athletic and versatile kids that can hit and also play small ball.”
For Taylor, she said that the hard work she has put into switching sides of the plate has paid off. She likes the ability to get on base in so many different ways.
“There are a lot of different tools I can use,” Taylor said. “I can slap it, bunt it, hit it — there are some many different opinions I have.”
The Barbs contest against McHenry will see DeKalb have to use all of its tools to succeed. Against Huntley Saturday, DeKalb had to use different tools like bunting and moving runners around in its 3-0 win. Lindsey Costliow led the Barbs with two hits and an RBI. Newport had a hit, an RBI and a run scored. Taylor had two hits and reached base three times.
“Coming off of the game on Saturday, I think we finished really strong," Taylor said. "So, I think we will play well."