Demi Turner missed more than half of last season with an elbow injury, but that wasn’t all she missed. She missed the game of softball.
The University of Alabama’s junior second baseman hyperextended her left elbow on a steal attempt against LSU in early March and didn’t return to the lineup until the postseason. She didn’t take to injury well.
“I think I could describe it as a kid that’s waiting for Christmas and then it keeps getting postponed,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “They get more and more upset or anxious. She is just not a kid that deals well with being injured or not being able to play.”
That’s not to say that the Huntsville, Texas, native didn’t do everything asked to rehabilitate. The coaching staff was hopeful that she would return ahead of schedule, but it took 10 weeks between at-bats.
“It was hard watching at first,” she said. “But in the end it helped me buy into my teammates and pick them up, and I saw another side of the game that I wasn’t really used it.
“It really made me appreciate the game that much more. It made me not take it for granted.”
Turner did get to contribute before last season was over. She finished with a .419 batting average and hit a walk-off single to lift Alabama past Washington in the NCAA Super Regional to advance the Crimson Tide to the Women’s College World Series.
“She’s clutch, she’s very clutch,” said Murphy.
Turner is batting .358 so far this season, starting all 16 games. She has two doubles, two triples and a home run with a .407 on-base percentage.
After a loss at Louisiana-Lafayette, she also stepped up.
“She said to everybody, ‘I’m going to do a better job of being a catalyst at the top of the lineup, you can count on me,’” Murphy said. “I thought it was really mature and showed a lot of leadership.
“She put herself out there. Not many kids want to do that anymore.”
At last weekend’s Bama Bash, she went 8-for-17 (.471) with four runs scored, three RBIs and three stolen bases.
“I want them to be able to look to me for that,” she said. “I don’t want them to be like, ‘Oh man, who’s going to start us off this game?’ I want them to be able to depend on me.”
Reach Tommy Deas at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0224.
Alabama in Crimson Classic
Where: Rhoads Stadium
Schedule: Friday at 4 p.m. vs. Jacksonville, at 6 p.m. vs. Drake; Saturday at 1:30 p.m. vs. Stanford, at 4 p.m. vs Drake; Sunday at 1:30 p.m. vs. Jacksonville
Records: Alabama 14-2, Jacksonville 10-5, Drake 12-5, Stanford 10-5
Radio: 93.3 FM (Alabama games only)