Slammin’ Sammy

Senior leads the Big South in batting average

ON TARGET — Sammy Taormina has a  fielding percentage of 1.000 this season. Photo Credit: Caroline Sellers

ON TARGET — Sammy Taormina has a fielding percentage of 1.000 this season.
Photo Credit: Caroline Sellers

After suffering a shoulder injury during his freshman season, Liberty University’s senior first baseman Sammy Taormina has made a name for himself during the 2017 season by winning back-to-back Big South player of the week awards.

Growing up in Rock Hill, South Carolina, baseball was a part of life.

His friends and family fueled his love for the game, and his talents helped him secure a spot as a Liberty Flame.

He attributes most of his success to his family, who has a rich history with baseball.

“My mom’s whole side of the family are baseball fans,” Taormina said.

“She’s the only girl of six siblings, and all five played baseball. Baseball just kind of runs in the blood on my mom’s side.”

Although his father played football in college, Taormina decided to use his talents on the diamond.

“When it came down to it, I just figured hitting a baseball was the most fun thing to do,” Taormina said.

Taormina’s favorite aspects of the sport are his teammates and the competitive atmosphere baseball inevitably provides.

“Baseball is the only sport where you can fail seven out of 10 times and still be considered successful,” Taormina said.

“Baseball is very much an individual sport, but it’s also very much a team sport.”

Although Taormina currently plays at first base, shortstop remains his all-time favorite position.

“Playing shortstop is definitely the most fun,” Taormina said.

“I love that leadership position in the middle of the field.”

During his freshman season in 2013, Taormina experienced an injury that threatened to end his career.

During a game against Old Dominion University, Taormina dove headfirst into third base.

He dislocated his left shoulder and tore his labrum.

His injury, paired with hernia surgery, forced him to redshirt his sophomore season — an experience Taormina will never forget.

“When you redshirt, you’re not allowed to practice with the team,” Taormina said.

“Building those relationships and working with them for hours a day, then staying home as they leave for games, that was definitely the lowest point for me.”

Despite his injury, Taormina did not let it get the best of him.

During the recovery process, time was his best friend.

“Baseball is such a ‘feel’ sport,” Taormina said.

“When you come off an injury, you kind of want to baby it and not do anything that got you hurt in the first place. Once I could swing a bat again, I could not swing with much authority anymore.”

Currently in his senior season, Taormina has been named Big South player of the week for two consecutive weeks of Feb. 13 and Feb. 20. According to libertyflames.com, Taormina has the highest batting average (.444) and highest slugging percentage on
his team.

After college, Taormina would love to play professional baseball.

But in the meantime, he is pursuing his master’s degree in business.

One of the aspects of business that Taormina enjoys is the competitiveness similar to baseball.

“It’s a competition, but it’s just not an athletic competition,” Taormina said.

“It’s the challenge that I like about it.”

The Flames begin conference play March 17 against High Point University.

Smith is a sports reporter.

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