The following is a question and answer with Tyler Junior College sophomore right fielder Taylor Drolette. He leads the Apaches in hitting at .354. Drolette has eight doubles, two triples, a home run and 21 RBIs. He has stolen eight bases in nine attempts and sports a fielding percentage of .979 (only one error in 29 games).
Before TJC, Drolette played for the Hutto High School Hippos. He was on the varsity for two years where he made all-district (plus academic all-district) and was also voted the team’s most valuable player. He played shortstop his junior year and outfield his senior.
He has a 3.5 GPA at TJC.
Drolette and the No. 9 Apaches (31-18) just swept No. 2 North Arkansas in a seeding series in Star City, Ark. TJC won all three games — 11-3, 5-4 and 6-3. The series win means the Apaches will play the No. 4 team — Brook Haven College — from the Metro Athletic Conference in a best-of-three play-in series at Mike Carter Field. Game 1 is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday. Game 2 is 1 p.m. Saturday. If a third game is needed, it will be played following the conclusion of the second game. Tickets are $3 for adults, while students with an ID are admitted free.
The winner of the play-in series advances to the District C Tournament (double-elimination) on May 11-13 at Mike Carter. The champion of District C advances to the NJCAA Division III World Series (double elimination) in Tyler, which begins on May 19.
Mike Carter Field is located at 1900 W. Houston St. near the Tyler Rose Garden, Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium and Harvey Convention Center.
Question: How long have you been playing baseball?
I began playing baseball around five years old. I played basketball and football until my junior year until I decided to focus on baseball.
Q: Did playing at Hutto help prepare you for college?
We were in a very tough district. We made it four rounds deep in the playoffs my junior and senior season and each year someone from our district knocked us out. It was a pretty good atmosphere each time we played in district because we were facing pitchers who were going to UT or A&M.
Q: How did you wind up in Tyler?
Last year I played baseball at McLennan (Community College in Waco). I found out TJC was a better fit for my style of play so I transferred. I just like the way this program is run here.
Q: Is this team ready for the playoffs?
I definitely think so. This schedule has made us better; it wasn’t like we were getting whooped. There were a lot of close games. We played well, just some of the games didn’t go our way. I think it is good karma for us later in the season.
Q: Does this team have what it takes to reach the D-III World Series?
I think we have what it takes. This season has been full of ups and downs and we have learned from the downs.
Q: What makes this such a good team?
Team chemistry is something that helps us out. Everyone believes in each another and everybody wants everyone to do well.
Q: TJC gets to play both the play-in series and District C Tournament at Mike Carter Field. The Apaches have played well at home; that must give you confidence.
We always play well at the Carter (TJC is 21-6). It’s something we always have done. It’s a confidence thing knowing we are playing at home.
Taylor Drolette At A Glance
School: Tyler Junior College
Position: Right Field
High School: Hutto
Parents: Mike and Carol Drolette
Siblings: Brother Austin, freshman baseball player at Temple College; Sister Brittney, 21, ran track at Tarleton State University.
Distance from Hutto to Tyler: 211 miles
Favorite Music: Texas Country, Rap
Favorite Artists: Charlie Robison, Kyle Park, Tyga
Favorite Movie: Moneyball, Mr. 3000, and any Will Ferrell film.
Favorite Book: Heads-Up Baseball: Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time, by Tom Hanson, Ken Ravizza
Favorite Athlete: Michael Young
Favorite Team: Texas Rangers