By Maren Angus
Caitlin Turner hadn’t played in a game for Lipscomb University in over a week. Instead, she was by her younger brother’s side at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
On March 18, Ty Turner was in an ATV accident in their hometown of Greenbrier, Tenn. He was airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical and was still in intensive care when Turner and her father were introduced to the crowd in attendance before the first game against conference foe USC Upstate. The Lady Bisons lost 4-0, but the bigger picture overshadowed that.
“It was really special to have her back in the lineup this weekend and to have her dad here,” head coach Kristin Ryman said. “I’m glad they were able to step away from the hospital for a bit and be a part of something that brings some joy.”
For the third consecutive year, Lipscomb held its annual Daddy Daughter Day at Draper Diamond. All the dads in attendance went through the pregame ritual with the team and each took the field with his daughter when the starting lineup was announced.
For a lot of girls, they just have that softball dad. He is the one who drives them to and from practices and tournaments, the one who is sacrificing so much to get his daughter to the next level. Daddy Daughter Day is a way for the women to show their appreciation and invite their fathers into their version of game day.
“We had a dad last year who caught a few of his daughter’s warm up pitches in the bullpen,” Ryman said. “It just takes you back to when you were younger and your parents were more involved in that stuff. It’s been a fun tradition, the dads have a good time with it and so do we.”
Even though this season’s was planned ahead of time, the celebration had perfect timing.
“My family really felt the support from everyone at Lipscomb and how the team responded to us,” Turner said. “The team has been my family’s side constantly. They came to the hospital when he was having surgery and have texted everyday asking if we need anything. I never felt like I was away from the field.”
According to Ryman, she was able to practice a couple times during the week, but with her first at bat of the weekend, she continued her hot streak and dropped a soft liner into left field for a single.
“It’s been really hard for her and her family, but we missed her in the lineup. There was a void there,” Ryman said. “She is such a spark plug for our team. She’s done well. She’s performed well. I know he’s on her mind a lot and she’s out trying to give us everything she can.”