Rosewood grad benefits from Legion
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 17, 2008 9:45 AM
In order to succeed on the baseball diamond, Taylor Allen remembers that life is full of challenges.
The former Rosewood Eagle infielder will be taking on a new obstacle when he reports to his first fall practice at Lenoir Community College on Monday.
"I know what I am capable of and I am ready," Allen said with an air of confidence. "It's the next level, a step up and it's going to be exciting."
At Rosewood, Allen played every game during the spring, either on the infield or at his preferred spot -- the pitcher's mound.
"Pitching is what I do best, and it's what I enjoy the most," said Allen. "I've worked hard at it."
The RHS graduate will be leaving behind a close relationship with Eagle head coach Josh Smith, and beginning anew with LCC manager Stony Wine. Smith recently resigned to become the new head baseball coach at James Kenan.
"Josh and I grew up down the street from each other," said Allen. "He is like a brother to me. But coach Wine is a great coach and has proven that he is a winner."
Once enrolled at LCC, Allen expects to start his baseball career by working his way onto the field during the fall season.
The right-hander did admit that nervousness is setting in as the new school year approaches.
"I am definitely a little nervous, more about the schedule than the baseball," Allen said. "I don't know where any of my classes are, so I need to go up there Sunday and get used to things."
Allen will be joining a program that won the National Junior College Athletic Association Region X title in 2008 and advanced to the NJCAA World Series before eventually losing to LSU-Eunice in the championship game.
"Coach Wine came and talked to me about playing for him, and I was really honored," said Allen. "Their team made it a long way last season, and I know that he expects to do the same this year."
Coming off of a stellar American Legion baseball season, where he compiled a 6-2 record, Allen also made note of how much playing with highly-regarded talent helped him prepare for life at Lenoir.
"As a pitcher you know that those guys are going to make plays," said Allen. "If I got a ground ball, it was an out, just like it will be next season."
Allen also credits Wayne County Post 11 coach Brad Reaves with one of his lasting baseball memories.
"I was standing around at a junior legion game at the beginning of the summer when coach Reeves walked over to talk to me," Allen said. "He basically told me that if I had a good outing against Greenville the next night that I would be his go-to-guy.. He really challenged me to step up, and the next night I pitched well and we got the win."
With his career at LCC just beginning, Allen is quick to acknowledge that he does have baseball aspirations farther into the future.
"I would love to keep playing," said Allen. "You have to love baseball to get to the next step, and I do, so we will see what happens."
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