Many might have expected a bit of a drop-off from the Sanger softball team heading into the 2014 season.
The Lady Indians, who reached the Class 3A Region II semifinals a year ago, had lost a core group of seniors who had become synonymous with Sanger softball as four-year starters.
In 2014, those players were gone, which thrust junior Morgan Turkoly into a big leadership role on a team that started up to six freshmen depending on the day.
Turkoly ran with the opportunity and had her best season in her third year as a starter for the Lady Indians as she earned Class 3A all-state honors from the Texas Girls Coaches Association while leading Sanger back to the regional semifinals.
“We were a very young team,” said Turkoly, a Lousiana Tech pledge. “Sanger softball has always been pretty good, and I don’t think people expected us — with the number of seniors we lost — to go as deep.”
Turkoly’s numbers were great in 2013. In 2014, they were spectacular, making her an easy choice as the Denton Record-Chronicle All-Area Softball Team MVP.
Over the course of the season, the shortstop batted .565 with a gaudy .704 on-base percentage. She had 11 doubles, seven triples and 11 home runs to go with 43 RBIs and 39 runs.
Turkoly showed improved power as a junior, upping her home run total by 10 from her sophomore season and becoming one of the most threatening middle-of-the-order hitters in the state.
“My offense was definitely a lot better,” Turkoly said. “I feel like my power numbers went up a lot this year. Even if I wasn’t hitting, I usually got on base somehow. My on-base percentage and power numbers just went up a lot.”
Turkoly was at her best in the postseason, where Sanger matched its playoff run from 2013. During the playoffs, she hit .520 with six home runs, 16 RBIs and 16 runs and stole three bases.
She said she wants to get her team over the regional semifinal hump as a senior next year.
“We wanted to clear the regional semis since we got there last year, but it can only get better from here,” Turkoly said. “We’re looking to go further next year.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.