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Prep softball: Lehi's Sydney White is MVP for coming up clutch

Published June 22, 2015 7:11 pm

Prep softball • Lehi junior Sydney White's clutch performances in state tourney make her the MVP.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The really good softball pitchers can go all day.

And when the competitive juices and smarts of Sydney White are on your side, well, those are two assets that are not going to go unused.

After pitching 17 innings in the next-to-last day of the state tournament this year to keep the Lehi Pioneers alive, White immediately came back to pitch 14 more, helping her team win its second consecutive 5A crown.

When that kind of thing happens, the All-Tribune softball MVP comes home and seems like just another exhausted teenager.

"She comes and lays face down on the carpet," says Rod White, White's father.

But that's not the Sydney White whom Lehi opponents know.

The Sydney White they know is the one who comes up ultra clutch when everything is on the line in the playoffs.

The White known by high-flying Herriman, which averaged close to 11 runs a game, is the one who shut down the Mustangs' scoring machine on the final day of the tournament.

Not once, but twice.

Herriman scored two runs or fewer three times in the 2015 season. Two of those three times came on championship day, as Lehi won by identical 7-2 scores.

"I wasn't trying to focus on winning so much, just on the little things I could do and what the team could do as a whole," remembered White, who also pitched the Pioneers to the 2014 state crown.

"So, even if we had lost, we could go out saying we did all we could do," she added. "I think focusing on the little things, instead of saying 'Let's win twice,' helped out a lot."

Part of what makes White the tough customer she is, ironically, comes from what she is not.

For instance, she does not have a fastball that overwhelms hitters. It's White's change-up that is her most dangerous weapon.

"I try to use it a lot more because I know I'm not a pitcher that can just blow it by some hitters," White said. "My strategy is to keep them off-balance with different speeds, different locations. I try to get outs to specific locations, not just to strike people out."

White also was not unbeatable. Herriman, Riverton and Copper Hills recorded wins over Lehi before the Pioneers eliminated each one over the last two days of the state tournament.

Copper Hills, indeed, had sent Lehi into the one-loss bracket earlier in the tourney.

But White adjusted and came into the second game, with her team down 5-0 in the second inning, ready to implement some adjustments.

"I learned a lot pitching the first game [against Copper Hills], and how they hit off me," said White of the game Lehi would win 9-8 in eight innings. "Coming into the second game, I tried to work them all a little differently."

What the Lehi junior does have, besides an ultra-competitive streak, is a great deal of natural athletic ability.

She was also the Pioneers' leadoff hitter — and one with some punch. Not a slap hitter. White earned a .436 batting average and slugged six homers.

"I've tried to switch over a few times, but that was ugly, so I just stuck to the right side," she said.

In Game 1 against Herriman on championship day, White was 4 for 5, including a line-drive homer to dead center.

She's also very adept at other physical activities, specifically volleyball. Sounding quite a bit like Bo Jackson — "I do volleyball to take a break, and it's way fun" — White's instincts and quickness at the libero position made her an All-Tribune volleyball selection last fall.

The White family as a whole is something of a Lehi institution, as far as athletics go.

Becky White, Sydney's mother, just finished her 27th year as a teacher at Lehi High, where she became the school's first softball coach in 1990. Older sister Allie played softball and volleyball, and brother Riley finished his baseball career at Utah Valley University last year.

White's immediate older sister, Carley, just transfered to play softball at Weber State after two years at Southern Idaho. That's where White, after her senior season at Lehi next year, plans to play — one year with her older sibling. —

Sydney White

• White was the complete-game pitcher in Lehi's state softball championships in 2014 and '15. This year, White and the Pioneers won two games on the final day of the season to claim the title.

• Her season-ending pitching stats included 94 strikeouts and a 2.24 earned run average. As Lehi's leadoff hitter, White hit at a .436 average with six homers and 32 RBIs.

• Following in the footsteps of older sister Carley, after her senior season next year, White plans to play softball for Weber State University.

• White, the All-Tribune pick as the state's best libero, helped lead Lehi to a state runner-up finish in Class 5A volleyball.






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