It’s been quite a season for Goreville’s Sydnee Rushing. The freshman hurler has been the anchor in all of her team’s biggest wins.
The Blackcats (30-4) defeated their top rival, Cobden, by a score of 7-0 in the Elverado Regional championship game on Saturday. Rushing shut out the Appleknockers twice this season, and Goreville has five straight wins over Cobden, dating back to last year.
However, Rushing didn’t know much about the rivalry before this season. The freshman, whose father is a teacher at Goreville, moved in from Giant City.
“I just thought it was supposed to be another game,” Rushing said. “It felt great because I know that my coach was nervous about the game, and I’m just glad we got a good team win.”
Shanna Massey, Goreville’s head coach, knew she was getting a good pitcher in Rushing. But Massey admitted that she didn’t know just how good Rushing would be or how she would handle performing in Goreville’s most important games of the season.
“She feeds off of pitching in those games,” Massey said. “I don’t really have to coach her very much. She’s knows when she’s on and what’s working for her.”
Rushing is 18-4 with an ERA of just 1.49 this season. She’s not going to overpower anyone, but the movement on her pitches is tough to handle.
“It doesn’t matter what pitch you call because she hits her spots,” Massey said. “I pretty much let her throw what she wants out there, and I give a lot of credit to her dad on that because she’s been playing since she was really little.”
The luxury of having a good offense and defense behind her is not lost on Rushing. Shelbey Miller is a dynamite shortstop and leadoff hitter. Tiffani Shadowens, Taylor Odom and Haley Darnell provide a solid top four in the batting order.
“They always put a bunch of runs on the board, and it’s great knowing that they’re going to do well,” Rushing said of her team’s offense. “It is good having a cushion. We have a great team, and I know they’re going to be there for me even if I do have an off day.”
Massey said that Rushing is a huge team player and doesn’t just play for herself. That’s not the case on some teams with good players.
“We played Herrin on Senior Day, and we ended up losing,” Massey said of the game where Rushing allowed just one earned run in a 3-2 loss. “She was in tears after the game and telling the seniors how sorry she was because she wanted to win on that day so bad for them. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch her play the next three years.”
Goreville takes on Marissa in the semifinals of the Cobden Sectional at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.