Turner, Whitfield ink college softball commitments

Published 12:45 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Thorsby High School’s Makinley Turner and Braelyn Whitfield signed their letters of intent to play college softball on Nov. 14. Friends and family filed into the auditorium to witness both seniors’ momentous days as Turner signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston, Mississippi, and Whitfield signed with Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Andalusia.

When it came to what stood out about Gulf Coast Community College to Turner, it was simple — it felt like Thorsby.

“I just felt like it was a good fit for me,” Turner said. “The coaches were always very welcoming, and when I went on my visit it felt like home.”

Turner has been at Thorsby High School since kindergarten, and she wants to step out of her comfort zone in college to test her limits on how great she can become at MGCCC. She plans to pitch and play the field on her off days from pitching to be available in the lineup each game.

“(Thorsby) has always been home to me, and it is like a big family where everyone is always nice and encouraging, so that helps a lot,” Turner said.

Turner said she feels like she is a good leader that people can look up to, and that is something that sets her apart from others on the field.

A leader in her own right, Whitfield stuck with LBWCC throughout her recruiting process. Head coach Kaitlynn Hadley’s style fit exactly what Whitfield was looking for at the next level, and she is excited to get started.

“Her coaching style is what I am used to,” Whitfield said. “She will get onto us, but at the same time she is there to be our friend too. It is one of those things where she supports us, and it is kind of like having your best friend as your coach. It feels like home, and it feels like Thorsby. A small town, everybody is close and it is comfortable.”

Whitfield arrived at AHSAA Class 2A Thorsby her junior year in 2021 from Class 7A Thompson High School. The change was unique for her, but she said the best two years she has spent playing softball have been the last two as a Rebel.

Talking and communication are what sets Whitfield apart from other players and is a strong point in her game. Her ability to pick up teammates is inevitable, and she always makes sure her teammates know that she is supporting them.

“If I do bad, that is fine, but I am going to pick up my teammates,” Whitfield said. “I have always said ‘Do not play for you, play for the girl beside you,’ and I worry about everyone else making sure they are upbeat.”

Both players will have one more softball season at Thorsby in 2024 before moving onto the college ranks at their respective schools after graduation.