As the pitching ace for the Goreville softball team the past four years, Sydnee Rushing has accomplished quite a bit.
Now a senior, Rushing is approaching the 1,000 strikeout milestone. She has fanned 964 batters during her tremendous career.
“I really want to get 1,000 strikeouts,” Rushing said. “It would really mean a lot to me. A lot of the pitchers around the area haven’t gotten there.”
The Blackcats are 17-10 this season, and Rushing has a pitching record of 15-6. She is averaging 12 strikeouts per game this season and has a career ERA of 1.50. The senior has gained a ton of experience, and it all started in 2012 when she helped pitch her team to a Class 1A state championship.
“I knew we had the potential all along my freshman year, and we were state-ranked the entire year and had really good talent,” Rushing said. “We just played really well together as a team.”
As a sophomore, Rushing and her teammates made a return trip to state and brought back the third place trophy.
“It was awesome, and we made so many memories in both years up at state,” Rushing said. “I would love to go again this year.”
This year’s squad counts on Rushing for her on-field performances as well as her leadership.
“I really think I’m the leader of the team now,” Rushing said. “It’s not really that much pressure now because I’ve been pitching for four years. It’s been different for me kind of taking on a leadership role. I try to be the quiet leader. If someone makes a mistake I will try to pick them up and be positive about it.”
Shanna Massey, Goreville’s softball coach, has been amazed by Rushing’s poise going back to the state championship in 2012.
“She’s just the type of kid where nothing really gets to her,” Massey said. “She’s been like that from day one. A team could hit two home runs off of her, and it’s like it doesn’t even faze her. She’ll just settle back down and get into a groove and do her thing. It’s been pretty unbelievable.”
Massey has enjoyed coaching Rushing for a variety of reasons.
“It’s been stress-free coaching her, especially as a pitcher,” Massey said. “There is so much pressure on them, and everybody expects them to work miracles out there. She doesn’t blame people if something goes wrong. From the mental aspect of it, it’s been very pleasing to coach a player like that.”
Rushing will continue her softball career at John A. Logan College.
“It’s sad that it’s almost over, and I really love my team,” Rushing said. “But I’m really excited to continue playing at Logan. My time at Goreville has been unforgettable. It’s really been awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better four years.”
Goreville will host Waltonville/Sesser-Valier on Monday and compete in the Pope County Regional beginning Tuesday.