Baylee Douglass traveled nearly 300 miles to tryout for a softball team in high school

first_img Published on April 4, 2017 at 11:03 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] Baylee Douglass showed up to her second night of tryouts for the DeMarini Zephyrs, now the Aces, and was the only player asked to come back. Her father, Lynn, didn’t understand what was going on. There were some great players who tried out.After the tryout, Douglass sat next to her father in the family’s Honda Element. The two were an hour into their nearly three-hour journey from Kansas City to their hometown of Centralia, Missouri. DeMarini head coach Ryan Taylor told Douglass he would be in touch soon about whether she made the team. Douglass couldn’t wait any longer and after much pestering, Lynn called Taylor.Douglass made the team. In fact, she made it after her first tryout. Lynn asked Taylor if he just asked Douglass to come back the second night to pitch batting practice.“He kind of snickered and said ‘Yeah. She was on the team,’” Lynn said. “’We just wanted her to come back and throw a little batting practice.’ I was like ‘gosh dang it.’”Douglass was a freshman in high school then. Now Douglass is a Syracuse (17-12, 3-6 Atlantic Coast) transfer. The junior hasn’t played that much due to injury, appearing in only four games for a total of 7 1/3 innings. But before she transferred to Syracuse, she had to get on the Division I radar. And given that her hometown had about 1,000 people, Douglass needed to travel far distances to make that happen.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“At that point we were willing to do anything possible,” Douglass said.Seeing the opportunity, Lynn drove his daughter the 150-plus miles to try out for the team, and 150 miles back. After tryouts ended that night, Douglass was invited back for the second day of tryouts. When she got to the field, that’s when she realized she was the only returning player.Taylor saw a spark in that tryout that made him call Douglass back.“The kid’s 5’3, not that big, doesn’t have overpowering speed, but man she really spun the ball well,” Taylor said. “You kind of just have that gut feeling with players.”Douglass made the six-hour round trip from Centralia to Kansas City every Wednesday night, on top of a three-hour practice. Douglass and Lynn would leave around 2:00 p.m., and typically get home between 12:00-1:00 a.m.Despite the driving time, Douglass was punctual.“I could probably count in the four years she played the number of times she was late on one hand,” Taylor said.On the way there they’d stop at either KFC or Taco Bell in Concordia, about an hour shy from practice. On their drives home, Lynn would make sure to stop at a quick mart and grab ice for Douglass’ shoulder and elbow.For Douglass, the drives felt longer than they were. She suffers from motion sickness, which is one of the reasons why the pair drove down in an elevated Honda Element, allowing Douglass to see out of the front window, even from the back seat when her mother came for the drive.But this meant she couldn’t do homework or read in the car. Despite the limited time to do work, and constantly having to pick up from not having enough time, Douglass finished atop her high school class.The time commitment wasn’t just on Douglass, though, but her entire family. Taking time to drive to-and-from practice, spending money on gas, travel expenses and equipment accumulated a lofty bill.“For the amount of money we paid for Baylee’s travel ball career,” Lynn said, “we probably could’ve put her through just about any college and grad school.”Her impact on the game still remains with her former coach and the new DeMarini Aces. Douglass was the first player on the team to travel such a far distance. But after she joined, Taylor began expanding his recruiting.But the money, and time, paid off. Douglass played two seasons at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with outstanding performances, winning the conference freshman of the year and was second-team all-conference her sophomore year. Now, she plays at SU.“My wife always said, ‘Lynn, we can’t afford to be on this team,’” Lynn said. “And I told her, ‘We can’t afford not to.’” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more