By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Alex Turner has been making things look easy for 18 years.
Even on the biggest day of her student/athlete career, the Munford High School senior nonchalantly walked into the cafeteria making sure all her invited guest to her signing ceremony were in attendance.
After flashing her trademark smile to her grandmother Betty Turner, grandfather Bob Forbess and basketball coach Steve Poindexter, Turner was ready to ink her letter of intent to play softball for Head Coach Keith Gentry’s Southwest Tennessee team.
“We always knew she had an athletic ability,” Alex’s mother Stacey said. “It came natural to her.”
From her mother to her father Glenn, all those talking about Alex that day kept saying she was just a natural on the field and court.
“Especially the natural part, any kid that can leave basketball and put on a helmet and step and hit like she has the last few years, my hat is off to them,” Munford Head Softball Coach Glenn Goulder said. “That’s just natural ability. But the thing that I admire most about Alex is how level-headed she is. She never gets upset, no matter what the situation is.”
The calm Turner was a key bat for the Lady Cougars last season helping Munford reach State for the second straight season.
Turner hit a team-high 6 home runs while batting .357. She drove in 39 runners with 33 singles, 11 doubles and a triple. Turner was named to the All-District 13-3A regular-season and tournament teams.
“We’re getting a good hitter and a good outfielder, which is what we need,” Gentry said. “We’ll lose our whole outfield after this year. She was definitely a priority. But we’re also getting a good person, a good student, somebody who is going to represent the school well.”
Gentry said Southwest is fortunate to have landed three quality Lady Cougars in the 2013 recruiting class. Turner will be joined by current teammates Tara Comer and Alex Stanford at Southwest.
“It’s an important day and I’m glad I get to go on and play something I enjoy,” Turner said. “I think it’s cool I get to play with Alex and Tara.”
Stacey said having the trio going to college near home will continue her family’s tradition that started when her Alex was 4 years old.
“We’re looking forward to her playing in college,” she said. “We wouldn’t know what to do if we weren’t at a field or in a gym. We’re excited.”
In recent years the Turner family has packed up including 4-year old little sister Addie to go watch Alex play basketball and softball. Under the guidance of Poindexter, Turner developed into a key shooting small forward helping the Lady Cougars win back-to-back district titles.
But for Glenn, he said he always had a feeling softball would be his daughter’s college sport.
“She just plays good,” he said. “She’s a pretty good player. She’s always done very well. We threw ball when she was 3 or 4 years old. Not super great but she’s always been a good player, consistent will be a good word.
“Defensively she’s always done well,” Glenn added. “Now the home runs, I was surprised of those she hit. She’s never hit that many home runs, but she’s always made good connect. If you make good connect, good things happen. It’s nice to get your school paid for. Better than that, she’s just a good girl. That’s what we’re the most proud of. You like that she has this opportunity. This is rewarding to us.”
Poindexter said seeing one of his player’s natural abilities as an athlete and person be rewarded was special.
“I’ll leave it like this, I have a 2-year-old daughter,” he said. “And if she grows up and is actually like her, I couldn’t ask for anything more. She’s a great kid.
“I knew when I first got here, she played basketball and softball,” Poindexter concluded. “I think she could have played either one (in college). Like her parents said, she has natural ability. Things come easy to her. It really doesn’t matter to me which one she chooses, I think she’ll do well. And I think Southwest is lucky to have a girl like that.”