Softball: Potomac State's Rice Tops Nation in Hitting

Sophomore bats .645, has .677 on-base percentage

by Chris Appel for the Cumberland Times News- cappel@times-news.com .

KEYSER, W.Va. — If the leadoff hitter’s job is to set the tone for the rest of the line-up, Potomac State College’s Taylor Rice proved herself the best at her craft in 2013 after leading the nation in batting average, and on-base percentage, not to mention the Catamounts to an undefeated season in the Western Pennsylvania College Conference.

Taylor Rice

Potomac State outfielder/pitcher Taylor Rice finished the 2013 season with the highest batting average in the National Junior College Athletic Association.

A sophomore outfielder and sometimes pitcher who graduated from Frankfort in 2011, Rice led all three divisions of the NJCAA  by hitting .645, and by posting an on-base percentage of .677. She also finished in the top 10 in NJCAA Division II in steals (42), and was in the Top 20 in both runs (59) and hits (78).

All of that helped Rice lock down one-half of Potomac State’s Female Athlete of the Year Award along with soccer player Laurel Podlesnick.

Rice played in all 33 games for the Cats, getting 133 total plate appearances and 121 official at bats. In those 121 at-bats she managed 78 hits, of which 68 were singles, three were doubles, four were triples and three were home runs. She drew a dozen walks over the course of the year to put her on-base percentage 30 points higher than her average.

The only other player in the NJCAA to bat over .600 was Steph Siriano of Division III Herkimer College at .602. Only one other player came close to sporting a better on-base percentage — Carlie Sweet, of Division III Central Lakes (Minn.), one point higher at .673.

Nobody else in Division II was able to come close to Rice in the two categories she led. Jocelyn Sanchez, of Triton College (Ill.), carried the second-highest average in Division II, but was 80 points behind Rice at .564, and Phoenix College’s Sierra Rodriguez trailed by 60 points in on-base percentage at .618.

Rice’s 42 steals tied her for the eighth most in Division II, 22 behind Phoenix’s Rebecca Wyatt, and she was the only player with 40 or more swipes to go all season without being caught.

Rice’s teammate Savannah Hose, who also played with Rice at Frankfort, had the ninth-highest batting average in Division II at .533 and helped the Catamounts finish second in in both team batting average (.426) and on-base percentage (.478)

The Catamounts’ hitting helped them to a 12-0 record in the WPCC and a berth in the Region XX Tournament where they were eliminated by Hagerstown 4-3 in finishing the season at 25-8.