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Softball standouts receive Rod Taylor scholarships

Madison Froemel and Emily Bankson were recipients of the first Rod Taylor Memorial Scholarship.

The Suffolk Youth Athletic Association recently created the memorial scholarship in the name of the late Rod Taylor. Taylor, who died about a year ago, had been a softball coach, a commissioner and president of the SYAA.

A presentation for the first recipients was held last Friday. King’s Fork High School’s Madison Froemel and Windsor High School’s Emily Bankson received the first scholarships.

Both Froemel and Bankson started their softball careers in the Pinto League (8U Coach Pitch) at SYAA with Taylor as an assistant coach and softball commissioner. When his own daughter, Delaney Taylor, was 8 and outgrew her glove, she passed it to then-6-year-old Bankson, who has kept it throughout the years. Taylor derived great joy from coaching Froemel because of her natural abilities and perpetual exuberance.

In the ensuing years, Taylor followed the careers of both players as they matured and improved — often reaching out to their parents with congratulations on the latest pitching win or home run that made the news. His fondness for both players and their families made it impossible for the committee to choose between the two.

“Nothing would have pleased him more than to help both of those young ladies reach their goals,” said his wife, Priscilla Taylor. “What made this award special this year is that my late husband coached and mentored both of these players early in their careers, and our families have kept up with each other all these years.”

Both softball standouts will be going to college to play softball. Bankson will be at George Mason University, while Froemel will be at McDaniel College. Bankson was a Class 1 first team All-State pitcher this year, and Froemel was selected first team All-State at third base.

The Rod Taylor Memorial Scholarship of $750 will be awarded annually to a college-bound senior that has played at least one season of softball at SYAA at any time during her youth. Funds raised through the annual Jimmy Pike Softball Tournament, to be held this year Nov. 10-11, help fund the scholarship. For more information, visit www.suffolksyaa.com.