Tapling concludes sports career at Evart with strong baseball season

EVART — Robbie Tapling closed a successful chapter of sports at Evart earlier this month when the Wildcat baseball season ended.

Tapling had a strong season on the diamond, following strong years on the gridiron and basketball court. It was a memorable baseball season, highlighted with a second-place finish in the Highland Conference and a win over perennial league power Beal City.

“It was huge,” Tapling, who played center field for the Wildcats, said late in the season. “Everything was going good. We have two younger guys playing out there with me. It’s good to give them some experience.”

It was Tapling’s third varsity season. He considered it his best one. In an all-Highland Conference season, Tapling scored 30 runs and had 26 hits, 14 RBIs, six doubles, a home run, 17 stolen bases and a .271 batting average.

He hit the ball “better than I expected,” Tapling said. “Leadoff, I just try to get on base.”

His glove was a key weapon in center field.

“I was good at reading the ball off the bat,” he said.

Midway in the season, the Wildcats were struggling with doubleheader splits. Later they started enjoying sweeps.

“We need to come out with the same first as we had in the first game,” Tapling said. “I think for the second game, we get to be a little lackadaisical.”

The Wildcats were probably the top story in the area this spring for area baseball. They went from a seven-win to a 20-win season. Tapling played a key role in that success.

“Last year, it was just that learning curve,” he said. “We had a lot of young guys last year, but now it’s a lot of returnees who know the game and want to compete.”