PIEDMONT — Taylor Morrow has battled severe diabetes and significant back injuries to be a consequential athlete in baseball and football at Piedmont.
Playing third base, shortstop when Mason Mohon pitched, and contributing as a pitcher himself, Morrow helped lead the Bulldogs to the third round of the Class 3A playoffs a year after departed stars Taylor Hayes and Easton Kirk led them to the state finals.
Morrow batted .406 and hit five home runs, including two homers in the quarterfinal playoff series against eventual 3A runner-up Lauderdale County. His play earned him recognition as The Anniston Star’s Calhoun County Class 1A-3A baseball player of the year.
He also earned a chance to play collegiately, joining Oxford’s Brody Syer in signing with West Georgia.
In the week leading up to the Lauderdale County series, Morrow sat down with Star Sports Writer Joe Medley for the weekly one-on-one. What follows is some material from that interview plus material that did not appear previously:
Question: What was your decision-making process on West Georgia?
Answer: I’ve always wanted to go to West Georgia. Honestly, it was probably my first decision. I love Coach (Skip) Fite. I love the school. It’s not far from home. My parents have always loved it. When I got the offer, I just knew that’s where I wanted to go. Plus, Brody has been my friend since I was little. I’ve always thought he’s a heck of a player and competitor. It made my decision that much easier.
Q: Piedmont lost Taylor Hayes and Easton Kirk off of last year’s state-runner-up team made another deep playoff run. I guess it’s nothing new here, but how has this team managed to do it?
A: We’ve really grown into a team this year. We started out slow, and a lot of that was maturity and finding our leaders within the team. That’s made us a better team as the season has gone deeper and, hopefully, towards a state championship. We just keep getting better.
Q: You were diagnosed with diabetes when you were 2. How do you manage that?
A: It’s never really hindered me, and, for kids that have it, it’s something you can play with. Honestly, it makes you tougher toward the sport, makes you respect people who have it and see what you can learn from older people who have it. If you’re not on a diabetic pump like I am, you have to take six shots a day, six finger pricks. Calculate insulin and calculate carb ratios to keep it at a normal level. With being a diabetic, you can fluctuate from 600 to 20. It just depends on how bad you are, a diabetic.
Q: How is it different for an athlete that taxes the body more than, maybe, a non-athlete?
A: It dehydrates you really bad, especially if you’re high during the game. If your blood sugar is high, it’s tough to see. It’s tough to see a fastball, especially. If your sugar is low, you hate running. You feel dizzy. It makes you sick. You just have to get to where you can manage your blood sugar before the game starts. If it’s bad during the game, then you’re just messed up.
Q: You also battled through significant back injuries in football, including what looked to be a scary injury when you were taken from the Piedmont Passing Camp by ambulance last summer. What were those injuries?
A: In my 10th-grade year, before I moved here, I had two compression fractures in my lower back in the L2 section. I herniated the disc and the disc above it during that play. I reaggravated it, basically. I jumped up to make a play on the ball, and my legs got taken out from under me and I landed, kind of, on my neck and shoulder.