Home away from home: Turner finds natural fit with Owls
Hunter O. Lyle—Sports Editor
After playing softball for the Owls for three seasons, senior pitcher Delany Turner said she has found more than just a place to get her degree, instead she said she found a “home away from home.”
Turner’s journey to Southern softball started at a young age, when her father introduced her to baseball. Ever since then, she wanted to play on a diamond.
“I always watched baseball with my Dad, and we used to always go to Washington Nationals games, ever since I was little,” said Turner. “I was just like, ‘I want to play baseball, I want to play baseball,’ and [my Dad said] ‘Okay, you can play baseball,’ but he signed me up for softball. It worked out.”
After settling into her new sport, she took her talents to Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Virg., where she became an All-State, All-Region and All-Conference performer, as well the team’s Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player. She also broke her school record for most strikeouts in both a single season and a game.
Turner then decided to attend the University of Virginia in her home-state, where she decided to pursue both a collegiate career in softball and a degree in computer science. With the Cavaliers of Charlottesville she experienced some problems and knew she needed to make a change.
“I left for a couple reasons, personal, and then also it wasn’t a healthy environment. I was successful there, but it didn’t make softball fun,” said Turner. “So, I wanted to enjoy softball while I was playing in college. College is supposed to be the best four years. You don’t want to be miserable and I knew that, if I transferred, I would be happier, and I am.”
The choice to move to Southern was partially made because of Turner’s father, who graduated as an Owl, but also because of the environment she experienced when she arrived.
“I chose Southern because my dad went to Southern, and I felt like it was just the best fit, honestly,” said Turner. “I was looking at other schools too, but at the end of the day, it just felt more at home.”
While the team is caught in a mid-season slump, currently sitting with a 6-24 record, Turner said she has learned over her tenure that it takes the right outlook to keep the team together.
“We have a positive mindset. [The season] is not the exact record we want right now, but we are competing a lot better than the past years,” said Turner, “so, I’m proud about that.”
Head Coach Jillian Rispoli, who coached Turner for all three years, can attest for Turner’s enthusiasm for both the team and the sport.
“[Turner] is a passionate player. She loves the sport; she loves to work hard. She wants to win; she wants to do her best,” said Rispoli. “Delany is one young woman, I can honestly say, has run the gamut. We’ve seen everything from her… when she gets out there, you can tell she’s fiery. She plays the game with her heart.”
Turner has also been selected to play as a part of Team USA softball to play across the world with talent from across the country.
“After graduation in June, I’ll be going for two weeks to Italy for a Team USA softball tour,” said Turner. “I applied [two summers ago] and I heard back this past summer saying I was accepted. It’s a bunch of college athletes who play softball, seniors and juniors, and they send those girls to represent the USA to play Italian teams. It’s going to be a perfect way to end the career.”
At the end of her last year, with 18 games left in her career as an Owl, Turner reflected and said Southern was everything she hoped and wanted for a college.
“When I first transferred in, I was in a dark place. I was bullied at my old school; I wasn’t happy,” said Turner. “Coming here, everyone was very supportive and was really nice, and it just felt natural.”
Photo Credit: Will Aliou