West Forsyth’s Sydney Horton wins N.C. Softball Coaches Association Co-Player of the Year in NCHSAA Class 4-A

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 4, 2024

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By Jay Spivey

For the Clemmons Courier

CLEMMONS — Junior Sydney Horton of the West Forsyth softball received a big honor last week. 

However, this honor was nothing new to her. She was named Co-Player of the Year by the North Carolina Softball Coaches Association in the NCHSAA Class 4-A level. It’s the same award she won last year.  

“It’s always a surprise,” she said. “There’s a lot of good players in the district or the state, so you never know who it’s going to go to. Yeah, it’s always an honor and a surprise.” 

According to Horton, Coach Kevin Baity of West Forsyth told her parents that she won the award and her parents told her. She was also named the District 5 Player of the Year in North Carolina. 

“I mean I didn’t really have too much of a reaction,” Horton said. “It was just kind of like, it’s an honor and I felt grateful that I was able to get the award, but it was just like, I was just grateful.” 

As shortstop for the Titans, that finished 24-4 overall and 12-2 in the Central Piedmont 4-A, Horton batted .595 with 47 hits, including six doubles, five triples and six home runs, with 52 runs and 47 RBIs.  

“I knew that her stats were good enough and she was very deserving of it,” Baity said. “I just didn’t know, I don’t know how all the voting process goes on as far as the all-state and all-district. But I definitely knew that she, you know, she was good enough to do it, you know, to get the award.” 

Baity had a chance to do something this year that he didn’t last year. 

“There’s an actually an all-district, all-state committee,” he said. “And this year was the first year I’ve ever been on it. So, she got the player of the year and all-district, all-state last year. I did not have a vote. I just nominated. I did have a vote this year.” 

Despite her eye-popping offensive stats Horton takes it all in stride. 

“I feel like there’s still stuff that I need to work on,” she said. “But as a whole I feel like I get the job done when it needs to be done. You know, during practice there’s always stuff I need to work on and get better at, but when it comes to the games I try not to think too much and just produce.” 

Horton is easily the offensive catalyst for the Titans. 

“The thing about Sydney and her stats is last year her average was actually a little higher, her batting average,” Baity said. “But the thing about her, she hits for average, but she also hits for power. And she also has speed.” 

Speed usually translates to base-stealing prowess. That’s true for Horton. She had 43 steals on 44 attempts this past season for the Titans. 

“You know, this year she had the most stolen bases in the state,” Baity said. “She had like 43 stolen bases, which was the highest in the state. Now, like I said her average was a little higher last year. It was in the .600s.  

Baity even took it a step further. 

“She’s one of the best offensive players I’ve ever coached,” he said.  

“Overall, when you look at RBIs and you look at home runs, but typically, you don’t see the hitting for power to go along with stolen bases. And see this year, up until this year, she was like 61 for 61, something crazy. She had not been thrown out any. She was thrown out this year for the first time and it was actually from a team from Pennsylvania.” 

Being a dual-threat on offense is something for which opposing teams pay attention. Her teammates also pay attention. 

“They’re very supportive,” Horton said. “They’re great teammates. They’re supportive. They try to produce as a team. They’re really great.” 

West Forsyth outscored its opponents 282-51, but in the four losses it had this past season, it only scored six runs and four of those runs came in a 5-4 loss on April 16 at Reagan.  

“I think one of the problems was everybody on the team can hit, no doubt,” Horton said. “But I think one of the problems is we need to connect more. Like one game the top of the lineup would hit and another game, you know, we need to connect our hits and produce.” 

Horton is also a very good defender while playing shortstop. She had a .958 fielding percentage this past season with 21 putouts, 25 assists with two errors. 

“Really about the same thing,” she said. “I try to produce and not think during the game, but during practice, you know, just try to work on my skills and try to get better.” 

Horton only had two errors, but that could even get better next season for her as a senior for the Titans. 

“I think that’s going to continue to get better,” Baity said. “But there are parts of her game, obviously, that she is going to continue to get better. But defense is not quite, it’s not where her offense is.” 

Even though Horton still has one more season left to play for West Forsyth she has already committed to play at North Carolina.  

“The recruiting process was stressful,” Horton said. “You know, I was talking to Carolina for a while and I really liked it, so it just overall seemed like a good decision.” 

Needless to say, Baity is glad he gets to coach Horton one more season.  

“I think she will continue to get better because she’s playing at a level during the summer that’s the best competition (Carolina Cardinals travel team), also,” he said. “So, it will make her even better.” 

Not to get too far ahead because the softball season ended for West Forsyth in May, but the team should be strong next season since they had not players graduate this past June. 

“I think we’re going to be good,” Horton said. “I think we’re one of the top in our conference. So, hopefully we can all work together as a team and just keep going farther and farther.” 

And Horton could even win the North Carolina Softball Coaches Player of the Year for the third straight year next year.  

“It’s just like an award for everything that I’ve accomplished,” she said. “It’s just something to like close it out. Like you finished your work, you did what you had to do and here’s your reward for it.”