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AZTEC – Zack Taylor is trying to become even more reliable tracking down the ball in the infield, no matter which position he’s at.

And that’s how the Aztec shortstop looks to contribute to New Mexico Highlands University’s baseball program, which is solidifying infield depth with in-state recruits.

“From the beginning, me and (coach Shannon Hunt) had some pretty good contact. He sounded like he really would like me to come there. The program’s really looking up. They’re on the rise,” said Taylor, who signed with the Cowboys today via partial athletic and partial academic scholarships. “(One-third) of their team is already New Mexico kids.”

Taylor said playing shortstop will help him adjust to playing in other spots quickly, whether second base or third base, because of how much movement is involved.

“I think shortstop is one of the toughest positions on the diamond. I know that every position has its hard parts, but I think being a shortstop has definitely helped me develop as a defensive player,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he was told that Highlands, an NCAA Division II program in Las Vegas, New Mexico, now runs its program like a professional baseball system under Hunt. Hunt once served as a scout coach for the San Francisco Giants from 1992 to 2004.

Taylor said he was drawn to that setup because of how he can develop for the long run.

“It’ll be really good for me. It they run it like a pro-style organization, then that’s what I want,” Taylor said.

Going forward, Taylor said he wants to keep improving his arm strength to ensure he can make harder throws. Taylor also said he wants to be more productive as a contact hitter.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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