Freeport pitcher Sydney Selker healthy, aims to make final season memorable

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024 | 8:30 PM


Sydney Selker wasn’t accustomed to sitting out a softball game, no matter at what level.

But that is where the Akron commit found herself for the last eight games of Freeport’s 2023 season.

A concussion suffered against Knoch in a defensive collision with a teammate in the 10th game last spring put her out of action.

The Yellowjackets missed her presence at the plate, in the circle and defensively as they struggled down the stretch and finished 5-12.

But Selker came back to play a full summer of travel softball, made her D-I college decision final in August and helped the Freeport volleyball team to a WPIAL Class 2A runner-up finish and another berth in the PIAA playoffs in November. She is hoping her final high school softball season this spring is her best yet.

“It felt really good to be back,” said Selker, who is 2-0 on the season with pitching wins against Apollo-Ridge and Karns City. “To put on the Freeport uniform one more time, it’s a pretty good feeling. I am excited for what I can do and for what this team can do.”

Selker knew what it was like to battle back from injury as she suffered a broken wrist late in her freshman softball season. That injury, also coming against Knoch, was not initially diagnosed by X-rays and she finished the season.

Blocking out and working through discomfort, she played her summer travel ball season and the fall volleyball season before further testing revealed the break. Surgery and rehab allowed Selker to be ready for her sophomore season.

At the time of last year’s injury, Selker was 4-4 with a 2.68 earned-run average in 44 1/3 innings. She struck out 77 and walked 32. She batted .360 with a double, a triple, two home runs and eight RBIs.

In this year’s opener against Apollo-Ridge, she gave up one hit and one unearned run while striking out eight. At the plate, she homered twice and singled, driving in six runs.

She came back Monday against Karns City, a 7-2 win, and worked a seven innings and gave up one hit. Both runs were unearned. She struck out 18 and walked six.

“It was important to get off to a good start overall,” Selker said.

“Those games really built my confidence for the rest of the season and showed the potential. I wanted to do my part to help the team get those wins. We have a young team, and to get those two wins was so valuable. We hit the ball really well.”

The team’s other two seniors, Abby DeJidas, and Megan Grolemund, contributed to the win against Karns City. DeJidas was a triple short of the cycle, and she finished with three RBIs.

Selker started Wednesday’s game at perennial Class 5A power Armstrong.

With a game Thursday against Indiana and having thrown the complete game Monday, Selker’s time in the pitching circle was limited to two innings against the River Hawks.

She surrendered three hits and one earned run — a solo home run in the first — while striking out five and walking two.

Armstrong has a dominant lineup, and Sydney did really well,” Freeport coach Ron DeJidas said.

“There is no doubt that how she does in the circle will determine how we do as a team. I didn’t want her to pitch at all (against Armstrong), but she said she felt good after Monday’s game. She’s a competitor, and she wanted to challenge herself against that lineup. She’s going to be ready (Thursday) against Indiana.”

Freeport has just the three seniors to go with a plethora of sophomores and freshmen. There are no juniors.

“Sydney, Abby and Megan are definitely our leaders,” coach DeJidas said.

“Syd will lead us hitting and on the mound, Megan takes control of the younger outfielders, and Abby does a great job of leading the infielders.

“We have a number of sophomores who got that experience on varsity last year and some freshman who have a lot of potential. Getting this experience now is going to really help them flourish.”

The section opener is April 5 at rival Deer Lakes. A pitcher’s duel is expected with senior ace Maddie Kee leading the way for the Lancers.

“We’re definitely headed in the right direction with section play starting next week,” Selker said.

“We can compete with the young team that we have. The team to beat again is definitely going to be Avonworth. They are loaded with great defense, a great pitcher and a tough lineup one through nine. If we go into each game with the mindset that we are going to get better, we’ll definitely give ourselves a good chance.”

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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