Carlson uses speed to create offense

Published 6:14 am Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sophomore Sydney Carlson has helped the Brandywine softball team to an 18-8 record this season. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Sophomore Sydney Carlson has helped the Brandywine softball team to an 18-8 record this season. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

It’s hard to defend Brandywine High School softball player Sydney Carlson when she steps into the batter’s box.

The Bobcat sophomore collected four bunt singles in a recent doubleheader against Cassopolis.

“She’s fast so we put down some bunts with her,” said Brandywine softball coach Angela Mellott.

But just when defenses get comfortable enough to play in for the bunt, Carlson can drive the ball to the outfield.

“She has a lot of power,” Mellott said.

An example of that power was shown on May 3rd at the Brandywine Invitational when Carlson homered.

“I can hit,” said Carlson. “I just couldn’t (against Cassopolis).”

“Right now, she’s struggling to keep her head down,” Mellott said.

Carlson is batting .388 on the season with 11 RBIs. She has hit one double and one triple and scored 24 runs.

She has put up those impressive numbers batting ninth in Brandywine’s lineup.

“My job is to get on base because there’s a lot of power at the top of the order,” Carlson said. “I know if I can get on they’ll drive me home.”

Brandywine, which owns a 18-8 record, has scored 236 runs on the year after sweeping Cassopolis in a doubleheader by scores of 13-3 and 10-0.

“I feel that we have a great team,” Carlson said. “I know we can make it to regionals again, if not farther.”

It’s the second year of starting on the varsity for Carlson, but she has more responsibilities this year. Last season, she had fewer at-bats, while again playing first base. In limited action at the plate, Carlson still hit .286 with five RBIs and four doubles.

“This year I feel so much better because I’m able to hit,” Carlson said. “I feel like I’m giving more to the team.”

As a freshman and sophomore, Carlson has provided solid defense at first base.

“She can make a play,” Mellott said. “We have some good arms on the field and she can scoop up anything.

“She’s also very positive with her teammates. Sydney does a good job communicating and they know they can trust her to save a bad throw.”

Carlson owns a .960 fielding percentage.

“I think I’m still doing OK at first base,” Carlson said. “I have long legs so I can stretch pretty far and get a lot of balls.

“The toughest part is knowing all the throws that the girls have. Some girls throw the ball into the dirt and some throw to the sides.”

The 5-foot-9 Carlson is also a standout volleyball player for Brandywine. It’s hard for her to pick which sport she likes more.

“I enjoy volleyball, but I’ve played softball since I was five years old at Firemen’s Park (in Niles),” Carlson said.