Wash makes verbal commitment to D1 school

Published 6:24 pm Friday, August 16, 2013

Sydney Wash has often been ahead in the count as a pitcher and a batter in her softball career, so it is only natural that she would get ahead in other areas, as well.

Though only a rising junior at King’s Fork High School, she recently made a verbal commitment to the University of Massachusetts Lowell after drawing interest from the school based on her play as a sophomore.

Wash

Wash

Nicole Lyons is a longtime coach and mentor of Wash who said being presented with the opportunity to verbally commit this early in high school is a big deal.

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“It only happens with the best of the best,” she said. “It’s happening more frequently now, it seems, than it has in past years, but again, it only happens with the best players.”

Wash said the opportunity “meant a lot. It’s always been my dream to go to a (Division I) school.”

She said UMass Lowell head softball coach Sean Cotter noticed her at a showcase in Virginia Beach as she played for the 18U Legends Elite Gold team.

“He just said that he liked the way I pitched,” Wash said, adding the coach also noticed her attitude on the mound and cooperation with her teammates.

The motivation behind making a commitment so early was “basically, just to have my senior and junior year worry-free,” Wash said.

Lyons said, “I’m relieved for her because the stress that comes along with making a decision on where you’re going to go and where you’re going to get offers is tremendous, and so she doesn’t have to worry about that from this point on.”

However, this did not mean she lacked a tough choice between schools, because Radford University also had interest, and Wash liked its coaches a great deal.

The big drawback for UMass Lowell was that it it so far away, but its academic offering won her over.

“I want to study forensics,” Wash said, and the Massachusetts school is well-equipped to make this happen.

In the face of this latest accomplishment by Wash, her father, Richard Wash spoke on behalf of his wife, Diane, in saying they were “exceptionally proud. Her mother and I have tried to give her as much support as we could.”

He recalled her development from playing recreational ball at the coach pitch level to high school and travel ball now, with countless practices and lessons in between.

As a sophomore with the Lady Bulldogs, Wash was named the 2013 Southeastern District Pitcher of the Year, and her impressive statistics on the mound earned her a first team All-Eastern Region selection despite not even playing at the regional level. In 21 games played, she pitched 126 innings, throwing 177 strikeouts with a 1.28 earned run average.

But her academic excellence also garnered collegiate attention, as she currently holds a 4.0 grade point average and has already taken the SAT.

Richard Wash said she has behaved “like any father would want — stay out of trouble, do good in school, and really work hard at something that you love.”

Lyons, who has worked with Wash since she was 11, said, “She’s got an incredible work ethic, but she also has a tremendous amount of God-given talent too.”

She said rarely do those with the natural ability actually put in the work to capitalize on it.

“She’s been one of the few kids that’s done that, and I think that’s why she’s in the position she’s in right now,” Lyons said.

With Sydney Wash still having two years of high school left to go, her father said what his advice to his daughter would be: “Stay grounded, work hard at her academics, and work hard at her pitching because she’s got to be ready to pitch at the next level, and she can’t just coast now that she’s got a verbal commitment.”

Due to National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, Wash will not be allowed to sign a letter of intent until October 2014.