Sydney Tuner doesn’t try to break school softball records, it just happens.
The North Forsyth senior first baseman/pitcher broke the program record for most RBIs in a season last year with 40 and is on pace to own four career records. Her batting prowess caught the attention of Limestone College (Div. II) in Gaffney, S.C., where she will play collegiately next season.
She entered the year with the highest career batting average (.427), slugging percentage (.601) and on-base percentage (.527). Midway through her final season, Turner has continued to bolster those stats. She is currently batting .550 with 14 RBIs and needs just six more RBIs to tie the North all-time record of 96.
"It just kind of happens," Turner said. "I’m in the moment and when they say I’ve got five RBIs, I’m like, yes, but I just want to win the game before I think about records. [I put] team records before personal records."
Turner propelled North to a Region 6-AAAAAA championship last season and hopes to defend the title next month. The Lady Raiders are 9-5 overall, but boast a 5-1 region record, outscoring region opponents 40-17. If they win the region title again, it will be the first time since the program transitioned to fast-pitch in 2001 to do so.
"We’ve got to let these kids understand that people are coming for us," said North head coach Bud Henderson. "They’re bringing a little extra every time they show up to face us. It puts a little more pressure on us, I guess, but we’ve got to overcome that. We’ve been trying to coach these kids to overcome that and understand that when they step on the field [the opposing team] is bringing their best. …But, these older girls have been some really good leaders."
Knowing that she is a key leader, along with her performance on the field, has given Turner an added confidence boost.
"I think I’m definitely more confident in the field and at bat," Turner said. "I’ve gotten a little bit stronger and I know what I’m doing more and I’m sure of what I’m doing, so I go ahead and do it instead of hesitating."
Henderson has seen the progression of his star player and is impressed with what she has been able to accomplish.
"Sydney came in and started the first day," Henderson said. "We put her on the field the first day and she was heads above a lot of girls [older] than her and she’s just continued to stay at that upper level all four years that she’s been here.
"She has slowly come into that [leadership position]. She hadn’t really had to be in that role the whole time she’s been here. She’s basically played well enough to be an example that way, but this year she’s having to play well, plus be a leader to these young kids we’ve got."
Although Turner has the added stress of being the go-to player, she said it doesn’t bother her and instead embraces her role.
"I don’t feel any [pressure]," she said. "As long as I hit the ball hard and I’m happy with it, I don’t really care. I’m not here to break records, just win region championships."