You can almost picture Taylor Winkelman cringing as she retells the story over the phone.

She was a freshman at Springfield (Delco), starting in the outfield. It was the first game of the softball season and her first varsity experience. Coach Todd Odgers moved the promising young player, a shortstop by nature, to center.

Winkelman was happy to do it, but she was nervous. Then the ball flew off the opponent's bat and soared close to the fence.

Winkelman, now a senior, recalls that day vividly, saying she, "tracked it wrong - horribly, horribly wrong."

She didn't make the play, and Winkelman felt like she let the whole team down.

"I was embarrassed," she says now. "I didn't know what to do, which meant more nerves. I was overwhelmed."

But she collected herself, and three years later, it doesn't get much better defensively than the 5-foot-1 Bloomsburg recruit.

She has the speed to cover a remarkable amount of space in the outfield and the arm to throw out any runner who dares to test it.

"She's an unbelievable player," Odgers said. "The best outfielder I've ever coached."

"She's the real deal. If I had to say what Taylor needs to work on, I couldn't come up with anything. There's no area where she needs work."

And that includes what she can do with a bat.

The opposition doesn't always expect Winkelman, who is small in stature and bats in the two hole to hit for power the way she does. With such strong mechanics and physical power, she isn't just looking to lay down a sacrifice bunt and move the leadoff runner.

Last year for the PIAA Class AAA state champion Cougars, she hit .472 with 30 RBIs and 35 hits, fifteen of which went for extra bases, including 10 home runs.

"Every game I just expect myself to produce," Winkelman said. "I'm pretty hard on myself. I'm going to make every at-bat count; every play in the field count."

"I want everything to be perfect," the captain added. "I don't want to let down my team."

During the Cougars' 4-0 start this season, Winkelman says she hasn't had to do much defensively.

There have been a few pop-ups, and she did convert a double play by throwing a runner out after a fly ball last week.

No shoestring catches. No plays where she runs through half of the outfield in order to grab one that is well hit.

They'll come.

When they do, Winkelman will be ready. She doesn't track them "horribly wrong" anymore.