Coyne overcomes setbacksPublished 8:51pm Saturday, March 30, 2013
Trials in the last three years have taught senior pitcher Devin Coyne of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy to enjoy her time out on the softball field and not take it for granted. This approach has fostered a strong start, including a 15-strikeout performance, giving her team its first win this season, and earning her a nomination for Player of the Week.
Coyne and Nansemond River High School sophomore right-fielder Morgan Lowers received 318 votes apiece to become the Suffolk News-Herald poll’s first co-winners.
When Coyne was a freshman at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, she suffered a stress fracture that put her in a back brace 24 hours a day for seven weeks. She was sidelined for a related injury at NSA most of her junior year. These frustrating experiences have strongly influenced her perspective this season.
“The main thing to me is that I’m just happy to be playing, and I think that’s the thing that’s been helping me the most,” Coyne said.
Watching her team play last season helped her realize that “it’s just a game, and that you’re supposed to have fun,” she said.
“If I get 15 strikeouts, that’s cool too, but the main point is that I’m out here to have fun,” she said.
She still takes the game seriously, though. She made an immediate impact for Coach Kim Aston and the Lady Saints when she transferred in as a sophomore. Though the 2012 team won the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools tournament, Aston said the team would have been much better with Coyne, and she is happy to have her back.
“She’s a very good all-around player and she eats, sleeps, drinks softball,” Aston said.
Coyne, the youngest of five, recalls starting to play at 5 years old when her parents unexpectedly signed her up with her older sister to play recreational tee ball. While her parents introduced her to the game, her father, Mike Coyne, gave credit to Devin as the one who wanted to keep playing.
“We’ve seen too many kids where their parents have pushed them and the kids eventually walk away from it as they get in their teens because it’s not fun for them anymore, because they’ve realized they were doing it just for the parents,” he said.
She plans to continue playing and major in engineering at Widener University in Chester, Pa.
Interestingly, she described the sport she loves as “a game of failures. That’s just how it is. You have batting average because you’re not going to get a hit every time. You have (earned run averages) because you are going to have a bad game. And that’s what I like is (that) it gives you a chance to work on your mistakes.”
At this point, her motivation to play her best stems from the Lady Saints’ 2012 performance.
“I feel like ever since last year and the success that we had, everyone’s gunning for us, and so I want to go out there and be the best I can possibly be for that, and to protect the legacy of the seniors behind us and to build on it,” she said.