Bentley to play baseball at West Georgia
by David Royal
Apr 11, 2014 | 668 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Taylor Bentley left Cass High in 2011, he intended to improve his baseball skills enough at a junior college to open the doors to attending a four-year school.

Bentley, who has just verbally committed to attend the University of West Georgia, has done all that but not before learning about overcoming adversity along the way in the form of a torn UCL that required him to have what is popularly known as Tommy John surgery.

The first year had gone as expected, with the former Cass star spending his freshman year batting leadoff and playing centerfielder at Andrew College.

“I came back my sophomore year, and right before the season started, I tore my UCL,” he said.

The injury was his first serious one as an athlete, he said, and soon afterward Bentley underwent surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla.

Andrews, a renowned surgeon for knee, elbow and shoulder injuries, is used by a lot of high-profile athletes, including players with the Atlanta Braves.

Bentley said he withdrew from college and went home to rehab.

“I hated it,” he sad. “I did it three days a week for five or six months.”

Bentley said it wasn’t just the rehab work that was draining.

“It was awful sitting out and watching all my friends continue their careers,” he added.

He said rehab built his shoulder back up, and after about four and a half months, he started throwing again.

“Once I did that, I started playing again,” he said. “I have had no problems. It doesn’t hurt.”

Bentley said he returned to Andrew College after a year’s absence and picked up right where he left off.

“I still play center field,” he said. “I hit leadoff, my same spot in the lineup.”

The centerfielder said he believes he throws the ball as hard or harder than before.

He began the year with a flourish, his hitting tops in the conference early on.

“That settled down but I’m still hitting .335, and I’m fourth in the conference in stolen bases,” he said. “I’m having a pretty good season.”

Bentley said that season concludes May 3 unless the Tigers make the playoffs.

Next fall he plans to attend West Georgia.

“They want me to play center field and hit leadoff,” he said. “That’s my plan.”

He also will be pursuing an education in sports management to go with his associated degree from Andrews.

Bentley said except for the injury, his plan to attend Andrews worked out as he envisioned.

“I got to play against some bigger schools,” he said. “It provided me a good opportunity to see some good competition and to learn.”

Bentley’s number are in line with those he earned at Cass High, where he lettered all four years with the varsity. He was all county honorable mention 2010, All-Region AAAA Region 7 honorable mention in 2011 and was selected to the Top 96/Senior All-Star Tournament in 2011.

His senior year at Cass he batted .378 with 13 RBIs, hit two home runs and earned a .574 slugging average. He hit .396 his junior year.

Bentley said he is looking forward to attending West Georgia.

“It seems like a good fit for me and it’s a good school,” he said. “My family will get to come and see me play, and I can go home easily if I need to.”