Two years ago, Taylor Clancy graduated from Los Banos High and moved halfway across the country to play catcher for the Midland College softball team in eastern Texas, near the New Mexico border.
This summer, she's making another move only about 500 miles this time, to Marshall, Tex., near the Louisiana border. She has another paper in her hand an A.A. degree from Midland and plans to play for another softball team the East Texas Baptist University team, which plays in the NCAA's third division.
"I went on a visit there, and I'm trying to major in education, they have a good program in that," Clancy said. "It's just amazing. It's beautiful they just had their 100-year anniversary, and it still looks gorgeous. It's all brick, and some of the newer buildings look the same."
The ultimate goal is to become a college softball coach herself. She plans to stay an extra year to get her master's degree while staying on as a graduate assistant.
But whatever she does, she plans to do it in Texas. In two years away from her hometown, Clancy has taken to the state.
"I'm pretty sure I'll stay here the rest of my life," she said. "California is beautiful, but the people in Texas there's nice people everywhere. There's something different in Texas.
"California is always green and pretty and stuff, but even though Texas is flat and ugly sometimes, there is a beauty to it."
It hasn't all been rosy at Midland though. It took a while to adjust to the competitive world of junior-college softball while living on her own for the first time.
"In Los Banos, I was used to me and Kelsie (Monroe) almost being in the spotlight. In Texas, I got a quick reality check," Clancy said. "In high school, I was really immature, I have to admit. But I've grown up a lot. Reality kicks in when you're miles away from home. You have to learn to do things on your own."
Clancy batted .275 in 18 games a year ago as Midland finished third in the WJCAC at 17-7 (47-16 overall). The Roadrunners fell to Howard College in the National Junior College Athletic Association's Region 5 championship.
This spring, Midland fell in the same game, this time to Odessa College after compiling a similar record. Clancy was the starter at the beginning of the season, but missed a month and a half due to tendonitis in her throwing arm. She batted .235 in 36 games this year, with 10 RBI and 18 runs.
But the highlight of the season was making the regional championship game once again.
"Our team had complications, so nobody thought we would make it to the championship. They thought it would be either Odessa or Howard," Clancy said. "It caught everyone off guard when we made it to the championship. We came together as a team. We should have done that a long time ago.
Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org