MOUNT WASHINGTON - Is there a direct pipeline between Bullitt East and John A. Logan College?
You might get that impression after two more Charger athletes signed with the junior college in Carterville, Ill., recently. The signings in softball of Taylor Price and Kristen Price (the two are not related) are the third and fourth Bullitt East athletes to sign with the school in a spring sport in the past three years, joining baseball players Zach McCarthy and Matt Bowles.
The two players from coach Ricky Hoffman’s Bullitt East squad are the second and third players from the team to sign already this school year and the coach feels that one more player might finalize college plans with softball involved before the season begins in two weeks.
“Both of them knew that they wanted to play at the next level,” Hoffman said after watching both sign the official papers recently at a ceremony in the school lobby. “They just worked to find the right fit. For both it was a great opportunity.
“I know they can play at the next level,” the coach added. “After two years I feel they can go on and play at a bigger school.”
It has been Taylor Price’s play with the Bluegrass Blaze that helped with all three of the signings by Bullitt East players this season. Earlier, Rachel Simms said that coaches at Asbury were looking at Price when they spotted her and began the recruiting process.
For Kristen Price, she was just tagging along with her best friend when Taylor Price was heading to Carterville for an official visit set up by Bluegrass Blaze head coach Travis Herald. John A. Logan coaches liked Taylor Price, but also decided to give Kristen Price a try-out on the same day. That turned into two offers and two acceptances.
The two Prices have been starters the past two seasons in a Bullitt East program that has reached the regional championship game and then the regional semi-finals, falling to Pleasure Ridge Park both times.
“I know it is a good school,” Hoffman said of the junior college. “They send players to the next level. Each year they have seven or eight to to the next level.”
The Bullitt East shortstop/outfielder was pro-active when it came to trying to play at the next level. She contacted John A. Logan head coach Bruce Jilek and then she and Herald forwarded a video of her play. That led to the offer of a visit and try-out that went well earlier this year.
“I contacted them three or four months ago,” Taylor Price said after signing the important papers. “I just wanted to go to a smaller school. I think I can get a better education and work better on my softball game.”
Taylor was also looking at Eastern Kentucky and Murray State as college destinations, but she would not have played softball at those schools.
“Since I was little I thought it would be great to play college softball,” the senior said.
What hasn’t been decided at this point is what position Taylor will play this spring for Bullitt East. She was the starting shortstop last season, but the team’s only graduation loss was in centerfield. She could move to that spot if some of the younger infielders develop for Hoffman.
“As a sophomore she played every game in the outfield,” Hoffman pointed out. “She just has so much speed. She can cover the whole outfield there. So, we’re still deciding on where we’ll put her this season.
“In college she can play both positions,” the coach added. “It’s good to have that type player. Speed kills and she has plenty of that.”
With that speed, Taylor will be a lead-off hitter and she has improved for that spot as she is now able to ‘slap’ hit from either side of the plate.
The 17-year old daughter of Lori and Sam Price, hasn’t yet firmed up what she wants to do in terms of a degree but she said that she is interested in both psychology and media productions.
Softball began for Taylor in the Okolona Youth program and she has played for a number of different travel teams over the past few seasons. She is in her second season with the Bluegrass Blaze now.
Taylor, whose brother Jacob attends the University of Louisville after graduating from North Bullitt, started playing high school softball as a sixth-grader at North Bullitt. She was part of the Lady Eagle program for three seasons before transferring to Bullitt East. She joined the Lady Charger program as a freshman and also played on the basketball team for two seasons before deciding to concentrate on softball.
That fact that she will be going to college and playing softball with her best friend is a wondering combination.
“It’s kind of great the way it worked out,” Taylor said. “She went with me on my visit and the coach just offered her right there.”
Kristen Price had sent a video of her softball to Morehead State, but that rally wasn’t heading anywhere when she decided to take up her best friend’s offer to make the weekend trip to John A. Logan.
“I really didn’t know where it was,” Kristen said with a smile. “Taylor just asked if I wanted to tag along and I did.”
Kristen is in a study program at Jefferson County Technical College that as her taking two classes a week. She was planning to attend Bellarmine University, without softball, before the offer came in from coach Jilek.
“I’ve always wanted to play (college softball),” Kristen said. “This just came up a few weeks ago.”
The 18-year old daughter of Wendy and Michael Price has an older brother, Donovan and a younger sister, Gabrielle. Kristen would like to major in Biology with an eye to becoming a dentist or an oral surgeon.
Softball started early for Kristen as she was playing in the Mount Washington Youth League at the age of 3. She played in the league until she was 10 or 11 and then started playing in the Bullitt East program. She is not part of a travel team, just competing with other Bullitt East players in the fall ball program.
In the past few years, she has played both first base and third base for the Lady Chargers. Last year she was at first base, but Hoffman is looking to move her back to third base as part of plan to get Taylor back to the outfield.
“At the next level she can do either position,” Hoffman said. “When we made the video on her, we showed her on both spots.”
Kristen will hit in the middle of the line-up and provide the power.
“I think they are talking about third base for me now,” Kristen said. “I wouldn’t mind either. I think I’m better at first, but I don’t care.”
Kristen is doing some strength work now at Anytime Fitness in Mount Washington.
“I definitely need to get faster and stronger,” she said. “Just more in shape.”
Kristen’s softball push comes from within her family.
“My dad has really been my main motivation,” the senior said. “He is always there to help me and work with me.”