By Sue Moore
Playing college softball with a sister will be one of the big rewards for Tailynn Knapp who signed her letter of intent recently to play for Central Michigan University (CMU) a Division I school. Her sister Shaidan Knapp will be a senior there next year, playing centerfield while Tailynn will compete to play as an infielder. Both girls competed for Vicksburg in multiple sports but softball was their favorite. “It will be so cool to again join my sister playing softball,” Tailynn said. “She has enjoyed great success at CMU, ranking third on the team with a .300 batting average and honor roll grades.”
Both sisters have been heavily schooled in softball by their grandfather Ed Knapp who coached football, wrestling, baseball and softball while a 35-year teacher at Vicksburg High School. His philosophy of winning has carried over to Tailynn. “It’s the basics that wins ballgames. Learn the mechanics and a player will have success,” he taught her along with many other athletes he coached.
Tailynn was four years old when she started tagging along for Little League practice with her sister who is three years older. That extended to a student visit at CMU in 7th grade when Shaidan was being recruited. “I loved the campus then and know I will love it next year. I get to live in the dorm with another softball player as a roommate while Shaidan will be living off campus as a senior. I was able to get in front of the coaches by going to their camps. My travel squad is out of Grand Rapids which the CMU coaches monitor.”
“They won’t be disappointed with Tailynn at CMU,” said her dad Tom who has also been her coach, cheerleader and driver to many practices. “Our car is like a locker room,” he quipped. “Tailynn gets her funkiness, aggressiveness and relentlessness from her mom JuliAnne. I love watching her play. At 5 ft. 2 in. she is quick, works out to build her core strength with a lot of lifting thrown in. She plays a short and long game, while setting records last season for Vicksburg.” She sports a healthy 3.85 GPA going into the last semester and intends to major in health sciences or bio medicine at CMU.
A three-year letter winner at Vicksburg, her career totals include 146 runs scored, 87 RBIs, 63 walks, 43 stolen bases, .562 slugging percentage and .510 on-base percentage. She was named a first team all-conference in 2019 as a junior. She hit .430 with 60 runs, 49 hits, 11 doubles, 3 home runs and posted a .632 slugging percentage and .569 on-base percentage. Knapp was selected second team all-district and first team all-conference in 2018. She received first team all-conference honors in 2017. She also earned three letters in volleyball and played travel ball with the Michigan Elite softball team.