Sydney Ames was named the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A Softball Player of Year in 2019 as a senior at Skowhegan High School.
Last spring, she was deprived of her freshman season at Husson University in Bangor because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ames hasn’t missed a beat.
She is having a memorable sophomore season for the 27-1 Eagles, who have won 20 in a row and are hosting an NCAA Division III regional tournament this week for the first time in school history.
Five New England teams will join top seed Husson for a three-day, double-elimination affair that will send the winner to Salem, Virginia, for the College World Series.
Husson plays the 10 a.m. tourney opener against 19-2 Endicott College of Beverly, Massachusetts.
Ames is contributing on all fronts. The outfielder is the Eagles’ leadoff hitter and she is the No. 2 pitcher behind school career strikeouts leader Jen Jones.
Ames, who plays right field, is hitting .392 and is second on the team with 38 hits, tied for second in runs scored (26), doubles (7), total bases (45) and stolen bases (6), and ranks third in batting average and on-base percentage among regulars at .423.
She has struck out only four times in 104 plate appearances.
In the circle, she is 13-1 with a 1.84 earned run average. She has 10 complete games and has allowed 56 hits in 80 innings with 42 strikeouts and 17 walks. She has allowed only one home run and has a save.
Ames said she never expected to have the success she has had this season “but I’m really happy it has turned out this way. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates always (helping) me and giving me confidence. It’s all thanks to them.”
She was chosen to the North Atlantic Conference All-Tournament team and was a second team all-conference pick.
“As the leadoff hitter, she sets the tone for us every single time,” fifth-year senior Jones said. “And she is so reliable in the circle. She keeps the ball low and keeps getting ground balls and pop flies and that’s all we can ask for.”
“She has been doing an incredible job,” Husson senior first baseman Morgan Coleman said.
Ames credits her offensive production to hitting coach Jenn Plourde.
“Coach P puts these little memos in my brain like focus on extension or wait for that outside pitch because those are things I struggle with,” Ames said.
Those tips get her focused and pumped up and she tells herself she can come through.
She isn’t overpowering in the circle but she mixes her pitches up and forces teams to put the ball in play.
“I am 100 percent confident in my team when I’m on the mound. I know they are going to back me up no matter what happens,” she said.
She relies on her arsenal of pitches and said she works around the ones that aren’t working as well on a given day.
Ames, who was 15-0 during the regular season her senior year at Skowhegan with an 0.77 ERA and pitched them to a Class A North title while also batting .486.
“High school is more laid back. Here it is go, go, go all the time. It’s amazing,” Ames said. “I loved the transition. It was great.
“The year off really didn’t affect much only because Coach [Diann Ramsey] was nice enough to give us a workout to do at home and all the stuff we needed to be prepared for anything that happened,” she said.
Ramsey said the key to Ames’ success is that she is focused.
“When she is on the field, she accepts the challenge. She looks forward to the challenge. She’s very focused on being everything she can be in whatever role it is for her team and she does very well executing it,” Ramsey said.