LaPoint earns pitching award
By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – Sydney LaPoint, a 2018 Bay Port High School graduate, ended her 2020 NCAA softball season in style.
Now pitching at Division II St. Cloud State University (SCSU) in Minnesota, the sophomore was recently selected as the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Pitcher of the Week.
During the Huskies final week of the season in Florida, LaPoint went 4-0 in her 24 innings of work, giving up one combined run on 10 hits.
Additionally, LaPoint struck out 19 batters and allowed only one walk on the spring break trip.
“It was probably my best week of pitching with St. Cloud so far,” said LaPoint, who is the daughter of Kevin and Stacy LaPoint.
This marked the first time she received the NSIC Pitcher of the Week honor.
“For all of us, going into the Florida trip, it was a chance for us to grow as a team,” LaPoint said. “We played in Kansas the week before and didn’t do as well as we wanted to. My big thing was, I needed to push through for the team and pitch seven innings. I know when I get to the fifth inning, I have to push hard mentally to get to the end.”
On the season, which ended for SCSU after the Florida trip due to fears of the spread of COVID-19, LaPoint finished with a perfect 7-0 record.
She ended with a 2.2 earned-run average in 54 innings pitched.
LaPoint recorded four complete games, surrendered 45 hits, 19 runs, struck out 40 and walked only six batters the entire year.
Opponents hit a paltry .218 off her.
“Jokingly, my dad said if the season ended like it had to, I might as well go out undefeated,” she said.
LaPoint, who throws around 60 mph, said the team had no idea its game March 12 would be the last of the season.
“One of our first days in Florida, we started to hear other teams weren’t able to come, so our team was asked to pick up additional games on our days off,” she said. “Our last game, the other team was crying after the game, so then we knew something was up. We found out more in the airport on the way home. It was a disappointing end to the season and hard to see the seniors crying.”
LaPoint said there is one positive to an early end to the season.
“Dating back to my senior year at Bay Port, my arm was always sore,” she said. “Going into my freshman year at St. Cloud, throwing overhand would hurt. Pitching was fine, but this past summer, it started hurting worse. I got an MRI, and the doctor told me I have a partially torn labrum. He told me I could either have surgery now or later or pitch with it – it depends on my pain tolerance. I’m doing physical therapy, and it seems to be getting better. The forced break is good for my arm, but I’d rather be playing.”
LaPoint said she has changed as a pitcher since her Bay Port days.
“I have more confidence in myself,” she said. “I’ve built a good relationship with my teammates over the years. I’ve gained a little speed on my pitches, and my control has gotten better. I have to hit my spots in college.”
Being in a rush to leave college after returning from Florida and heading to Suamico, LaPoint forgot her pitching glove at school.
“I’ll have to have my roommate ship it back to me,” she said. “I’ll probably start throwing in a week or so and start training. Hopefully, things get back to normal soon.”