Freshman Jordynn Parnell is in her first varsity season with the South View High School softball team, but she’s already revived memories of past Tiger pitching greats for head coach Phil Dean.
“I would think she would be in the mold of a Chrystal Carter or a Lauren Ross,’’ Dean said.
Dean heard of Parnell’s abilities as far back as two years ago and went to see her in person last summer during a travel ball game at Arnette Park.
“I got a look at what was coming and I knew she was going to be good,’’ Dean said.
Just a couple of weeks into the 2023 season, Parnell has a 4-0 record for the Tigers. In 30.2 innings, she has allowed only four earned runs for a 0.91 ERA. She’s already rolled up 64 strikeouts through Tuesday’s 5-0 win over Lumberton.
Parnell started playing softball at the age of 8. She experimented with a variety of sports and her love for the game grew as she got older. It was about three years in that she switched from catching to pitching.
“I thought pitching would be fun, so I tried it out,’’ she said.
Although she had established her credentials when she got to South View, she didn’t expect to be an instant success.
“I knew I was going to have to come in and work for my spot,’’ she said. “I was going to impact the team in whatever way I could.’’
She calls her curveball her favorite pitch.
“It moves more and it’s faster than most of my other pitches,’’ she said.
Dean said Parnell is blessed with a good mixture of control, velocity and, possibly most important, a positive attitude on the mound.
“She’s been clocked at 65 mph, and she’s got good movement on her pitches,’’ he said.
But Dean said he especially like’s Parnell’s mound presence.
“If she walks somebody, she’s OK,’’ he said. “She just lets it go and just improves on the next batter. She has a great attitude, and her teammates love her. She’s a joy to be around.’’
Parnell focuses on playing in the moment.
“You never know what can happen in the game,’’ she said. “You keep going.’’
The Tigers are 6-1 through Tuesday’s 5-0 shutout of Lumberton when Parnell threw a one-hitter, their only defeat a 6-5 nonconference setback to Wilmington Ashley.
Dean said South View has a tough stretch coming up with Purnell Swett, Gray’s Creek, Cape Fear, Jack Britt and Scotland.
In a split 4-A/3-A conference, Dean said the wins over 4-A opponents are especially important for securing a playoff berth.
“We’ve got to beat the 4-A teams, but we want to beat the good 3-A teams too,’’ Dean said.
Parnell could hold a key to earning those wins.
“The sky is the limit for her, in my mind,’’ Dean said. “Because she works at it, I think she can be as good as she wants to be.’’
* The annual Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame induction banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, at Highland Country Club.
This year’s inductees include basketball player Courtney Willis Colborne, soccer player Rachel Yepez Rogers, basketball player LaToya Pringle Sanders, basketball player Kenny Wilson, distance runner Marsha Kouba and football coach Gary Weller.
Tickets are $65 each and can be purchased by contacting Ashley Petroski at 910-323-9195 or email@example.com.
To continue the tradition of the annual banquet, the club is offering the general public the opportunity to become Friends of the Sports Club. For a fee of $100, individuals will receive one ticket to this year’s or next year’s banquet and be recognized individually or corporately during the banquet.
Jack Britt coach Ike Walker will be head coach for the North Carolina team, with James Scott of E.E. Smith on the North Carolina boys roster.
Scott led the All-American Conference in scoring last season with a 22.5 average.
The boys were 26-4; the girls, 26-2.