Freshman Sydney Woods delivers a pitch in district match against Tyler High Friday, Mar. 10, 2023. The Tigers finished with a final district record of 5-9. (Photo by Braylen Garren)
Freshman Sydney Woods delivers a pitch in district match against Tyler High Friday, Mar. 10, 2023. The Tigers finished with a final district record of 5-9.

Photo by Braylen Garren

Face of the game – Sydney Woods

Coaches across Texas High athletics choose standout players from the season

May 10, 2023

When she walks onto the field, nothing else matters. The world outside the fence fades into the background, and all that’s left is the dirt, the chalk and a bright yellow ball.

“When I step out onto the field, I don’t really think about anything else,” freshman Sydney Woods said. “I just tell myself ‘you got this’ and do what I have to do.”

For some people, sports are just a game. To others, they’re an escape, a way to clear their mind by doing something that they love.

Woods tosses a ball up in celebration after tagging an opposing player out at second base against the Atlanta Rabbits Tuesday, Feb. 28. The Tigers defeated the Rabbits with a final score of 6-3. (Photo by Braylen Garren)

“I started playing softball when I was four,” Woods said. “It was my first love and it just makes me feel free.” 

With softball not being an available sport at the middle school level, Woods instead played travel softball. Though a different experience, the transition from travel ball to highschool ball just consisted of memorizing new plays for her newfound team.

“The transition wasn’t really hard,” Woods said. “It was more about being able to memorize new plays and gelling with the team.”

Woods came on to the Tiger softball team and immediately grasped onto a starting position in the lineup, consistently hitting in the two or three hole and rotating from shortstop to the pitcher’s mound on defense. 

Sydney came in as a freshman and took on a big role for our team. She was a big bat in the lineup for us, hitting in the two and three hole consistently all season,” Head Softball Coach Chealsea Slider said. “She came up clutch in many situations. She also handled a lot of games in the circle and held a lot of good teams to few runs.”

The pressure of being a starter is a lot to manage at such a young age, however, Woods remained unfazed. 

“I really just had to trust myself,” Woods said. “I had to trust myself and trust all the work I put in before coming to high school. I just did what I knew how to do.”

To Sydney Woods, softball isn’t just a pastime, it’s something she is truly invested in, something that grew and shaped her as a person. Returning next year, Woods is excited to become even closer with her team.

“Next season, I’m looking forward to gelling even more,” Woods said. “Just playing as a unit, you know, not as individuals. I’m ready to see us grow as a team.”


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    Mary ColemanMay 19, 2023 at 5:43 am

    Thank you for such a great article on Sydney!