By GARY STALLARD
Sydney Brown’s very first signing ceremony took place when she was a senior at Ironwood Ridge High School in Tucson, Arizona.
She signed her letter of intent to play with Angelina College and met her future teammates while using Skype and a big screen inside Shands Gymnasium on the AC campus.
Two years later, she sat inside the same gymnasium – in person, this time – and signed another LOI to play for Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kansas beginning in the fall of 2019. At KWU, she’ll be joining former Lady Roadrunners Taylor LaGrange and Taylor Lenggenhager. The combination of those personal connections, the KWU softball program and Brown’s academic pursuits teamed up to make her decision an easy one.
“I looked up the campus, and they have what I want to study, which is Forensic Psychology, and they made me a great offer scholarship-wise,” Brown said. “The campus is absolutely beautiful, and I already two friends there on the softball team who can show me around. Having friends there makes it even more appealing.”
Brown, a Lady Roadrunner sophomore who slugged seven homers and drove in 28 runs while slugging at a .557 clip in her freshman campaign, said first-year head coach Taylor Reichard is in the early stages of building a strong Coyote program with which Brown hopes to contribute.
“Coach Reichard is in her first year, and she’s trying to rebuild,” Brown said. “I’m excited to be a part of that. Their program is very intense, which I’m all for. I like having the regular schedule. I think they’re going to be awesome. They’re on their way up.
“I’ll be playing first base most likely. I hope to be a great asset both defensively and offensively, maybe hitting in one of the 3-4-5 spots in the lineup. I hope to add some RBIs and good contact hitting.”
Brown admitted the reality of playing so far away from home as a freshman affected her late in the season – a factor she’s confident she’ll overcome in 2019.
“I want to get the mental part of my game solid this season,” Brown said. “Last year, I was a freshman living out of state, and it was a tough adjustment. I had some struggles near the end of the year. I think I’ve done pretty well this year so far in getting myself completely focused on softball and not the outside distractions that bothered me last year.”
AC coaches Mark and Barbi Mattson have had plenty to do with her development, Brown added.
“From Mark and Barbi, I learned how important it is to work on the mental part of the game,” Brown said. “They’re not the types of coaches who’ll bring you down; they’re very upbeat, very positive. They’ll tell us, ‘It’s okay. You’ve got this.’ It takes the pressure off the players so we can relax and focus, knowing if we don’t do well one time we’ll get it next time.”
Brown’s parents are Laurie and David Brown.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is firstname.lastname@example.org.