Former Paris softball star Sydney Ward headed to Southern Arkansas to finish college career

Jamie Varnell
Paris Express
Wards signs with SAU

Sydney Ward is still enjoying success in the pitching circle, two years after leading Paris to the state semifinals.

For the last two years, Ward played for Crowder College, a highly successful junior college in Neosho, Missouri.

A year ago, the season was cancelled just 22 games in. Ward came home dejected and disappointed, with a lot of unknowns ahead. This year however, Ward put everyone on notice. 

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“Having a full season was very exciting, and I loved every minute of it," Ward said. "As a team overall, our record was 47-8, and combined with the baseball program we were the winningest programs combined in the country for the third year in a row."

Crowder College, which lost in the Regional finals, had three dominant pitchers. They scored 543 runs and had 79 home runs. Ward had the best ERA in the junior college ranks  at 1.03 and was third in strikeouts with 230.

Sydney Ward bats for Crowder Collège

At first, Ward was not excited about going the junior college route, though four-year schools recommended that path for her.

Now, she has a different outlook.

“I don’t think I would be the player I am today if I would not have gone juco," she said. "I grew so much, not just as an athlete, but a person learning life on my own and being an adult. “ 

Ward will now head to the Division II ranks, signing with Southern Arkansas. One of the key factors in the decision was the opportunity to play under a full-time pitching coach.

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As for the lost season, it turned out pretty well too. Ward will head to SAU with four years of eligibility.

She plans to finish a bachelor's degree in exercise science and earn a master’s degree with the added eligibility. She then plans to join a collegiate program as an athletic trainer.

In the meantime, Ward has also kept up with her hometown Eagles.  

"I did keep up and listen on the radio for both baseball and softball," she said. "Me and Jadyn (Hart) are still good friends and talk a lot, especially during softball season. I think Paris has a bright future when it comes to the softball and baseball programs."