Three years ago when a quiet unassuming transfer student went out for softball, the girls all told Coach Terry Siebert, “Hey coach, this new girl can really pitch!” It quickly became obvious that this was an understatement. Three years later Sydney Ouzts has accomplished the almost unthinkable goal of 500 strikeouts. She is very happy to have reached such a big accomplishment that she hadn’t thought possible three years ago.
This was possible because of a lot of hard work starting with her dad, which Sydney says she didn’t mind because she loved what she was doing. Her enthusiasm inspired the rest of the team to overachieve from the beginning. She helped us become a viable playoff contender and we made her feel welcome on this remote island where she came knowing no one.
Sydney feels that acceptance by the team not only made her feel comfortable being here but also built her confidence on the mound. The team members relied on each other in a way that spread confidence around to everyone. Two years ago, we found ourselves in the unfamiliar territory of a state championship game. Richmond got the best of us then, but last year we turned the tables.
Sydney has had to adjust to a different catcher each year. This is not an easy task, and she feels that each catcher has stepped up to take on the challenge. She works on her different pitches and credits assistant coach Amanda Poyant for teaching her the humiliating change-up that she has developed this year. Her go-to pitch is still her fast ball as she feels she can put that where she wants. With the game on the line, you can see her determination in her facial expression as she fires the ball into the plate.
Sydney thinks of the team as family. The girls are tight on the diamond and look out for each other. She is disappointed that they will most likely be travelling in the playoffs even if they stay undefeated. However it does not take away from their confidence that they can get off the bus and play the same inspired game that they can at home.
Softball is in the future for Sydney as she has been accepted at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine where she has already worked with the softball coach as well as spent time with the softball team. Nine months ago she never would have dreamed of working on the water, but a trip to the Coast Guard Academy doing a simulation of running a ship changed all that. Now she will be studying Marine Transportation Operation at MMA. Quite a far cry from the Pittsburgh area.
She expressed gratitude to her coaches Terry Siebert, Bennett Morey, and Amanda Poyant for their help and all her teammates for their acceptance and friendship over the three years. She also mentioned how much the support from the community has meant to her. I have always felt that despite the remoteness and limitations of resources, this community has the biggest heart of anywhere I have been. Evidently Sydney feels the same and we wish her the best as she forges her future, and will always welcome her home.