Softball Star is Stealing the Spotlight

Softball Star is Stealing the Spotlight

Most athletes are not willing to discuss their secrets. Pitchers don’t want to tell you about the next pitch. Wide receivers will not reveal their running routes, and forwards do not want to telegraph their moves to the basket.

Cougars softball player Taylor DuPree is different. She’s happy to tell you why she is so successful at stealing bases.

“You have to have the mindset to realize that no one can get you; otherwise, you will be afraid to run,”
says DuPree.

It is a philosophy that works for her.

Taylor DuPree holds the record for most career stolen bases. (Photos by Mike Ledford)

DuPree is a first team All-CAA third baseman who holds the College of Charleston record for most career stolen bases. She also currently ranks fourth in CAA history in that same category.

Her other statistics are equally impressive. DuPree has the third highest on-base percentage in school history, the sixth highest in runs scored and the ninth highest in both hits and sacrifices.

But it is her ability to steal bases that stands out. Last year she had four games in which she recorded two stolen bases and one game against Georgia Southern when she racked up three.

By the way, she still has one more year left on the softball diamond to increase those figures.

DuPree’s love of the game began on the tee-ball fields in Augusta, Ga. She quickly grasped the different aspects of the game and soon excelled in the sport. By the time she was in Little League, she was the only girl on the team, but that didn’t bother her.

“I was practically one of the boys,” DuPree says with a smile.

But her baseball career abruptly ended when she turned 11 years old and was informed that she would have to switch from baseball to softball.

No problem.

She walked on the softball field in middle school and was quickly named to the school’s “B” team, only because sixth-graders were not allowed on the “A” team. By the time she graduated from Greenbrier High School in 2014, she held the school record for the highest single-season batting average and
was honored as the state of Georgia’s “Player of the Year.”

But back to stealing bases. DuPree says there are a lot of factors to consider in the microsecond before you must decide whether to steal or not to steal. She says most of the factors need to be examined before the teams take the field.

Prior to games, DuPree goes over scouting reports with her coaches in an effort to try to obtain any useful tidbits about her opponents. She studies everything from the throwing motions and ball release of the pitcher to the accuracy of the catcher throwing the ball to second base. She also keeps a keen eye on the location and the pace of the pitches.

“That is vital information needed in order to successfully steal a base,” says DuPree.

Of course, there is another practical reason why she is able to steal bases.

“She’s so darn fast,” says Cougars Head Softball Coach Linda Kalafatis. “Taylor accelerates quickly so she hits top speed very fast, and with our short base distances, that’s important.”

All this work and talent has been instrumental in the record-setting 74 successful steals DuPree has accumulated so far in her college career. It’s an accomplishment that is not expected to slide out of the record books anytime soon.