JEROMESVILLE — There are players who are spoken of reverently in Hillsdale softball circles.
Sydney Long assumed her place among them this spring.
The Richland Source Pitcher of the Year, Long led the Falcons to the seventh state championship in school history earlier this month. Along the way, she did something no pitcher in the program’s storied history has ever accomplished.
In seven postseason games, Long didn’t surrender a single run.
“Sydney pitched her butt off in all seven of those games,” Hillsdale coach Hannah Fulk said after the Falcons blanked Strasburg-Franklin 5-0 in the Division IV championship game at Akron’s Firestone Stadium.
A senior headed to Ohio Dominican, Long took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Strasburg before surrendering a two-out single. She helped her own cause in the bottom of the first, belting a two-run home run with two out.
“I just found my pitch and drove it out,” Long said.
For the season she was 20-1 with 212 strikeouts and a sub-1.00 earned run average. She was selected the Wayne County Athletic League Player of the Year for a second straight season.
“When the going gets tough, Sydney seems to get tougher,” Fulk said. “She’s the senior with the level head on her shoulders and she’s been our leader on and off the field.”
An All-Ohio first team pick, Long anchors a four-person rotation that includes three other All-Ohioans.
She may be just a sophomore, but Madison’s Sloan Kiser has emerged as one of the area’s most dominant pitchers. She was 14-4 with 117 strikeouts and a 1.53 ERA this spring. Kiser was selected to the Ohio Cardinal Conference first team and was an All-Ohio second team pick in Division II.
Crestview’s Kennedy Hickey was an All-Ohio first team pick in Division III and with good reason. The senior was 15-3 with a whopping 214 strikeouts in 110 innings of work and boasted a microscopic 0.19 ERA. Hickey gave up just 14 runs all year and only three of them were earned.
Colonel Crawford’s Sydney Studer joined Hickey on the Division III All-Ohio first team. The senior was 16-6 with 188 strikeouts and a 2.13 ERA in 141 innings of work.