Favorite athlete: Mike Trout
Favorite team: St. Louis Cardinals
Favorite memory competing in sports: Winning the Suburban One Continental Conference and making it to the State Championship game in Hershey for soccer.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: Freshman year, during our first outdoor practice, I was wearing softball pants. When we were doing infield drills I was stretching for a ball and the back of my pants ripped right down the middle. I was so embarrassed, but looking back at it, the team and I just laugh.
Music on your iPod: Anything on the radio but mostly country.
Future plans: Continuing my education and softball career at Saint Joseph’s University, majoring in actuarial science.
Words to live by: “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right.”
One goal before turning 30: Travel to Australia.
One thing people don’t know about me: I’m a very superstitious person. During the high school softball season, I wore the same socks and bow while making sure I had the same routine every game.
By Mary Jane Souder
Taylor Marinelli struck fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers this spring.
And with good reason.
The Central Bucks South senior was arguably the most dangerous hitter in the SOL Continental Conference. With one swing of the bat, Marinelli could change the course of the game.
“I’ve been around the sport a heck of a long time, and she’s the best player I’ve ever had,” South coach Kevin Rosini said. “She was everything.
“With all the power numbers and things like that, I’ve never been around a season like that before.”
In 21 games for a Titan squad that captured a share of the conference title, Marinelli batted .460 with nine home runs, six doubles, one triple, 34 RBIs and 26 runs scored. The senior standout had a 1.016 slugging percentage. She drew 11 walks and was hit by a pitch three times.
“She was on base all the time, and it wasn’t just that – it was the big hits, the clutch hits, the RBIs, the two-out hits, not over swinging, not trying to do more than what was needed,” Rosini said. “She might have seen one pitch an at-bat she could do something with, and nine times out of 10 she did, and we needed that. You couldn’t ask for a better senior year from someone. She was our leader, and we jumped on her back.”
As impressive as Marinelli’s numbers were, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The South senior – who has signed a letter of intent to continue her softball career at Saint Joseph’s University – was the total package.
“She’s a leader, she’s a worker, and she wants to get better every day,” Rosini said. “She’s a Division One player. High school kids in her shoes – how many of them would slack off during the season and already look ahead to the college experience and not really care much about what goes on. She cared greatly about what went on here.
“Everybody knows that she’s the leader of the team, but they see it by the way she plays and the way she conducts herself on the field. There’s no ‘look at me, look at me.’ She’s just going about her business looking out for her teammates, and that’s the mark of a leader.”
While Marinelli occupied a starring role on the softball diamond, she willingly served in a backup capacity for a soccer team that advanced to the state title game.
“It was a good experience to have,” she said. “I always told my parents – I want to play soccer in high school just to keep me in shape.
“We had so many seniors and we’d been bonding for the past four years and we knew we could be really good.”
Marinelli enjoyed the challenge of backing up all-everything goalie Sophia Boggs, who will continue her career at Colgate University.
“I definitely looked up to her to make myself better and stronger as a goalie,” Marinelli said. “Even though I wasn’t continuing my soccer career after this year, it made me stronger as an athlete.
“When I get to St Joe’s, I’m not going to be playing every game, if at all, so it helped me mentally to prepare myself. When we had training, Sophia didn’t act like she had the job in the bag. We pushed each other to be better. When I did get in, I had to play my best.”
Marinelli’s best was mighty impressive – in four starts, she had three shutouts. Three were non-league games, but the fourth was a critical game against North Penn.
“Taylor was a pleasure to coach,” South coach Betsy Bullock said. “She was a very skilled goalkeeper who would have started on many teams in the area but was playing behind Sophia Boggs, the Intelligencer Player of the Year.
“She came to practices and games ready to play with a great attitude.”
Marinelli grew up playing soccer, softball, basketball and tennis.
“I was always running from one sport to another,” she said.
By the time she reached high school, Marinelli had narrowed her choices down to soccer and softball with softball winning out in the end.
“I played softball because Kristyn did,” she said of her sister, who is four years her senior and continued her career at Lafayette. “I was like, ‘I guess I’ll do that too.’
“I’m such a laidback person that if someone said, ‘Go do that,’ I’ll be ‘Okay,’ and I go do it. I don’t question things much. I feel like I took softball seriously because Kristyn was taking it seriously. I just followed in her footsteps, and it was the easiest thing in my family to pick up on.”
If there was a sibling rivalry, it never really surfaced until recently.
“We were always that one year off – if I was a year older or she was a year younger, we would have been playing together, and there probably would have been more motivation to beat each other,” Marinelli said. “Plus she was a pitcher and that’s a whole different story. You can’t really compare us much because of our positions.”
Marinelli went through the travel ranks, beginning with Blue Thunder and now playing for New Jersey Cheetahs Premier. She has always been a power hitter.
“But I worked hard for it,” Marinelli said. “I didn’t just walk in like I was a power hitter. I had to work for it.
“I was always hitting with my dad (Gary Marinelli). He was always keeping things simple and making things so simple that it worked.”
Rosini recognized immediately when he took over the helm this past season that he’d inherited a special player.
“As we got to know each other a bit over the winter – she was the hardest worker around,” the Titans’ coach said. “You watched her in the cage, you watched her doing whatever – she was never satisfied. She wanted to get better all the time.
“That made my job easier because that was one position and one person that I never had to worry about, I never had to think twice about. That helped me a great deal. She’s everything a high school coach could ever ask for.”
On the field, Marinelli set the tone for the season in a win over Pennridge.
“We started off and we lost our first two games,” Rosini said. “We went to Pennridge, and she had two home runs.
“That kind of jumpstarted us a little bit and kind of let us all take a deep breath and say, ‘Okay, here we go.’ Without her, there’s no way we win the conference. We had a lot of people around her that were good, but everybody knew she was our best player.”
While her sister was part of the 2012 state championship squad, Marinelli never experienced that kind of postseason success, but she leaves with no regrets.
“Definitely not,” she said. “It’s been a great group of girls the past four years. It’s been a great experience to have even though we didn’t make it as far as people expected us to or we wanted to. Some things just didn’t work out.”
Marinelli has four more years of softball awaiting her at St. Joe’s where she will major in actuarial sciences. An excellent student, she boasts a GPA of 4.04 and is a member of the National Honor Society. Her course load included honors and AP classes.
“It’s difficult to keep up with the workload they give you and playing and running to Jersey (for softball) and everything,” Marinelli said. “I’m doing homework in the car constantly and on the weekends and everything, just trying to catch up and get ahead. It’s always been academics first.”
Marinelli also is a leader of South’s Athlete Helping Athletes. She volunteers at Neshaminy Manor Nursing Home and umpires games for Warrington-Warwick Softball.
“I know she’ll be hugely successful,” Rosini said. “She’s a great kid – National Honor Society, Athletes Helping Athletes, she does things in the community. What more could you ask for? I just think the world of her.”