05/21/09 — Warriors' Turner heading to MOC

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Warriors' Turner heading to MOC

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 21, 2009 1:46 PM

The gradual rebuilding process of the Eastern Wayne softball program continues and Caitlin Turner is undoubtedly a cornerstone in the foundation for future winning seasons.

A four-year varsity player, Turner extended her career Wednesday afternoon. She signed a letter of intent to play for Mount Olive College next season.

"I went to the tryouts at Mount Olive and I really liked the environment, the players and the campus," said Turner. "We got along well and I liked the coach. I just liked it from the get-go."

Turner batted .313 during her senior season. She collected 10 RBI, scored 15 runs and struck out just eight times in 157 at-bats. A gritty player, Turner displayed the type of hustle that rubbed on her teammates in the midst of a 9-14 season.

"Caitlin loves to play the game and she's hard-nosed," said second-year Eastern Wayne head coach Tony Parrish. "My best description of Caitlin is that she'll do whatever it takes to succeed. I would love to have a whole team of Caitlins.

"In the last two games there were a couple of instances most people don't even recognize. She just topped the ball, but she ran as hard as she could down the line and made every play close. That's Caitlin."

Competing in the difficult Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference and persevering through up-and-down seasons taught Turner valuable lessons about leadership and the importance of a proper approach toward the game.

"I've become a better leader on the team," said Turner. "The first couple of years I played I didn't take it as seriously as I should have. I've realized now that it's time to get serious.

"I'm going to play college ball and they don't play around there. It's going to be a lot different than it has been in high school softball."

Mount Olive finished 25-18-1 this spring and wound up third in the season-ending Conference Carolinas tournament. The Trojans are the only team to record top-three finishes in regular-season and tournament play in the past three years.

The Trojans earned a national ranking in early March and was ranked No. 9 in the final Division II Southeast Region poll.

"I'm excited to bring Caitlin on staff as she is local talent," said MOC head coach Jaime Kylis-Higginbotham in a written statement. "I'm hoping to work with her to bring her game up to the next level. She will make a fine addition to the extremely talented group coming in."

Turner is the second member of Eastern Wayne's 2009 squad to receive a college offer. Teammate Casey Mitchell signed with perennial JUCO power Pitt Community College.

Parrish hopes Turner and Mitchell will serve as lasting examples for underclassmen as the Warrior softball program continues to turn the corner.

"This team could be doing better than we've been doing, but we've laid the foundation," said Parrish. "We won eight games last year and we won nine this year. I hope that when the younger players see Caitlin and Casey go play elsewhere it shows them there's an opportunity for them, also.

"This is good for our program."

Note: News-Argus sports editor Rudy Coggins contributed to this story.