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Former Picayune softball player shining with Belhaven

Softball has been a part of Elizabeth Taggard’s life since she was 8-years old and she’s used those years of experience to blossom into a cornerstone of the Belhaven softball team.

Taggard started playing softball in the Picayune Leagues hosted at Friendship Park.

Over time her love for the game grew, which led to her putting aside her passion for dance to pursue softball.

“Softball consumed most of my time and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve met a lot of people and traveled to a lot of different places,” Taggard said.

She kept improving as a player and after spending two years at Pearl River Community College Taggard made the move to Belhaven University.

Taggard started all 17 games the team played this season and was hitting .435 with 14 RBIs and 2 HR.

The Blazers record of 14-3 meant the team was on a roll before the NCAA made the decision to cancel spring sports.

Taggard was in the midst of her junior year and said the cancellation robbed the team of an opportunity to do something special.

“It just sucks because in the fall you worked with weights and practiced to be able to compete, then it all got taken away from you with a week’s notice,” Taggard said.

Athletes in spring sports have been given an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA because of the cancellation, which Taggard said she may take advantage of depending on how things play out.

She loves the sport too much to walk away and she knows she can have a positive impact.

“I liked the success side of the game and knowing even if I failed today, that if I got back and worked hard eventually things would go my way,” Taggard said.

Taggard said she’d watch SEC softball on TV as a kid, which inspired her to pick up the sport.

She kept the same group of teammates growing up and competed with them at the high school level as well.

Taggard said that during her sophomore year of high school things started to click at the plate, in part due to the countless hours she spent working on her swing in the batting cages.

The boost in her hitting ability garnered some attention.

“It was something I fell in love with and it helped me stay in the lineup because my bat was pretty good. Success with hitting helped me know I could play at the next level,” Taggard said. Taggard said that while she’d obviously prefer to be on the field competing, there has been a silver lining in the cancellation of spring sports.

“It’s given me a chance to spend time with my family and sister who is in middle school (on the softball team). I’m definitely going to take some time in the summer to help her and work with her,” Taggard said.