By LORI A. CARTER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
On a 20-5 softball team like Cloverdale, there are always a few standout players who garner the most headlines, typically pitchers.
But sometimes overlooked are the others who provide the offense, defense and unseen support those throwers need for their teams to win consistently.
The Eagles’ Jordyn Turner is that kind of player. Turner, a junior, is The Press Democrat’s 2015 All-Empire small school softball Player of the Year.
“She was our overall MVP,” said longtime coach Margaret Fitzgerald, who also coached Teanne Edens, a junior pitcher who was named co-most valuable player in the North Coast League with junior pitcher Rachel Wingler of Clear Lake.
Cloverdale went 14-1 in league, losing only to Clear Lake, which finished 13-2.
“Jordyn was phenomenal,” she said. “She just ran the show out there.”
Turner began playing baseball at age 4 on a mostly boys T-ball team. By age 7 or 8, she was playing softball on travel teams and blossoming as a talented young ballplayer.
“I really liked it,,” she said.
She started catching at age 8, by accident.
“Our catcher got hurt so I had to go back there and play. I liked it right away,” she said. “In every pitch, you’re there. There is a lot of action, a lot of fun.”
Turner provided leadership in intangible ways to the Eagles, a young team that will lose only two seniors, Fitzgerald said.
She managed their ace Edens, encouraging or calming her when she needed or pointing out a mechanical glitch if she saw her pitcher struggling. She is skilled at framing a close pitch into a strike, her coaches said.
“There were only 10 attempted steals on her,” Fitzgerald said. “I think that’s everyone just respecting her arm and not even trying. She’s got a cannon.”
Not all of Turner’s contributions were as subtle.
Turner is in the league’s top three in virtually every offensive category, and was tops in the league in four areas, including fielding percentage.
She led the league in home runs (6), slugging percentage (.885) and on-base percentage (.564), and was third in batting average (.443), runs batted in (32) and runs scored (35). Defensively, her fielding percentage was a league-leading .992.
She also smacked 11 doubles and a triple.
“I’m mostly a power hitter, but when I get to the plate, I just look for the best pitch and the home runs come,” she said. “My home run goal was to beat all my other years, which I finally did, and get to the first-team all-league, which I did.”
In describing her most memorable moment this year, Turner refers instead to a team highlight — although she featured prominently in the play.
“Beating Clear Lake for the automatic berth in the playoffs. That was probably the best game we played,” she said. “It was really intense and fun.
“The team effort was great. We all came together,” she said. “To end the game, we had a great play by our right fielder Josie (Marrufo), who got a ground ball and threw her out at home.”
Turner neglected to mention she is the one who tagged out that runner at the plate, clinching Cloverdale’s 4-3 win.
“I try to lead our team as much as possible,” she said, “to be there as much as possible. I’m more of the example leader. I don’t boss them around or anything. I do stuff and hope they follow it.”
You can reach Lori A. Carter at 521-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @loriacarter.