Chanhassen’s Sydney Schwartz is Metro Star Tribune Softball Player of the Year

Senior Sydney Schwartz has done so much for the state tournament-bound Chanhassen softball team that she had to be selected as the 2022 Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year.

The numbers insisted.

She’s one of the top pitchers in the state, 21-0 with a 1.24 ERA and 209 strikeouts. She has a longer pitch range, topped off with a fastball that hit 64 miles per hour. The University of Minnesota, with whom she signed last fall, is eagerly awaiting her services.

She’s also hitting at an elite level: she’s averaging .596 with 13 home runs, 29 RBIs and a 1.993 on-base plus hitting mark, and she has a huge impact on opposing teams. Opponents began issuing intentional marches with regularity. She walked four times in five plate appearances in Chanhassen’s Class 4A, Section 2, 11-10 win over Shakopee. Three were intentional. One of these bases on bullets charged the bases and sparked a Chanhassen rally.

She also leads, by example and with her voice. She once took a personality survey at school that said she was introverted, but on the softball field, she’s anything but. She is relentlessly affable, always keeping the team loose.

“That’s where I’m most comfortable,” Schwartz said. “There’s no place I’d rather be than on the rubber. This is where I feel confident. »

She keeps confidence from becoming ego – and also keeps her teammates loose – by stepping out of her comfort zone and dancing, happily and, she admits, awkwardly.

“I always dance in training or before games. And I’m a terrible dancer,” she said. “Everyone knows I’m horrible. But I like to play freely and have fun. We play much better when we are having fun. »

Softball has long been a centerpiece of Schwartz house life. Sydney’s older sister Maddie was an integral part of Chanhassen’s Class 4A Championship team in 2016 and went on to a successful career as a pitcher at the University of Wisconsin.

Both girls were coached in their youth by their father Chad and were coached by some of the best softball minds in the area. Sydney has played summer softball for top club teams nationally since she was 15 years old.

Still, it took a pandemic to turn her into a top-flight pitcher. When COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 high school and college seasons, Maddie returned home from college. She and Sydney have spent much of their time getting into it, their competitiveness helping the two become better players.

“It’s funny that Syd really grew because of COVID,” said her mother, Heather. “She and Maddie played together every day.”

Sydney accepted a scholarship offer from Minnesota in her freshman year. She was offered the opportunity to join Maddie in Wisconsin, but said, “The chance to play for my hometown team was just too good to pass up. And it will be fun to play against her next year.

His competitive fire is especially strong when it comes to Maddie. Her older sister has that 2016 state championship. Now that she threw Chanhassen into the Class 4A state tournament this week in North Mankato, Sydney is determined to win her own title.

“I’ve been waiting since I entered the field in eighth grade to win a state championship,” Sydney said. “I can’t let her end her career with one and not with me. I want one too.”

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