Living the 'K'-free life

King’s West shortstop Taryn Hanley works on her defensive skills during practice Wednesday afternoon at Pendergast Regional Park. - Photo by Rogerick Anas
King’s West shortstop Taryn Hanley works on her defensive skills during practice Wednesday afternoon at Pendergast Regional Park.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

When Taryn Hanley steps into the batter’s box, she doesn’t swing at bad pitches she can’t make contact with. She doesn’t worry about not making contact and swinging into empty space is unheard of with two strikes against her.

The letter K — as in strikeout — doesn’t happen in Hanley’s world when she stands at the plate. In two seasons at the prep level, the King’s West junior says she has never, ever gone down swinging or looking at strike three.

The numbers don’t lie. Her batting average of .682 this season led the Class B Sea-Tac League. And that number is solidified even more when you take in that she also had 40 RBIs to her credit.

Not too shabby for a girl that once found playing defense at shortstop was more comfortable than swinging the aluminum. Then as a sophomore it all started coming together.

“Just going to the plate with confidence has really helped out,” Hanley said. “Now I always go into attack mode — ‘You play the ball, you don’t let the ball play you.’”

She admittedly doesn’t like to talk about her streak.

“Don’t jinx me,” she said. “Knock on wood.”

But not talking about striking out doesn’t stop her from thinking about it from time to time.

“I know I’m good,” she said without cockiness. “I know I can do it if I put my mind to it. Sometimes when I get two strikes I think about it. But I don’t swing at bad pitches and I have yet to strike out.”

She hopes her talents carry her to an athletic scholarship. Hanley just made a video with a couple of teammates where they ran, caught, bunted and demonstrated their overall softball skills which she’ll send to college coaches and recruiters. In a couple of seasons she’d like to play at the University of Tulsa (Okla.), Drake University (Iowa) or the University of Santa Clara (Calif.)

But one player doesn’t make a whole team. The Warriors hit at a collective .468 pace as they posted a 7-1 record to take the Sea-Tac League title and were 11-3 overall. What’s even more impressive that the top hitters — Hanley, Susan Cooper, Betsie Parker, Katie O’Brien and Heather Fontenot are all underclassmen.

So even though their season came to an abrupt end, the Warriors have pieces in place for another run at state next season.

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