Taylor Dockins, softball player who battled rare liver cancer, dead at 25

Taylor Dockins

Taylor Dockins, a softball player who played her senior year of high school and her college career at Cal State Fullerton while battling a rare form of liver cancer, died June 2. She was 25.

Dockins died in Nashville, Tennessee, The Press-Enterprise reported. She had a liver transplant in Pittsburgh in October 2021, but cancer returned less than two years later. Dockins was admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s intensive care unit on May 29 after another setback, according to the newspaper.

“She was one of the most fierce Titans to ever wear the uniform and fought cancer the way she played the game,” Cal State Fullerton coach Kelly Ford said in a statement. “To my humble warrior in heaven … Taylor, we were all so blessed to be on that field with you, know you in the special way we did. We will carry her spirit with us and honor her every time we put on the Titan uniform.”

Dockins set numerous pitching records during her four seasons at Norco High School in Norco, California, according to The Press-Enterprise. She finished her career with 108 victories, breaking the previous California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section record of 103, set by Mission Viejo’s Taylor McQuillin.

Dockins helped her team to the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title in 2015, but it was what happened the following year that endeared her to softball fans.

In July 2016, Dockins was flying to Colorado to play in a tournament with her travel ball team, the SoCal Choppers, according to the newspaper. She began having sharp stomach pains, and an MRI and CT scan revealed that she had a mass on her liver and a spot on her lung.

Dockins later was diagnosed with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, a rare liver cancer that affects 1 in 5 million people, The Press-Enterprise reported.

She joined the Titans at Cal State Fullerton as a freshman in 2018 and went 7-4 with a 3.29 ERA, according to a news release from the university. That included a no-hitter.

In 2019, Dockins went 6-5 with a 2.57 ERA, striking out 35 batters in 68 innings.

Dockins’ liver cancer prevented her from competing during her junior and senior years at Cal State Fullerton.

“Taylor had that bulldog mentality and always found a way to put up a good fight,” Norco softball coach Rick Robinson told The Press-Enterprise. “That drive you saw in her as a player was the same she had in fighting this disease. She always kept a positive outlook and led by example. She handled it better than myself or 99% of the world ever would have been able to.”

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