Sydney Bonner ended her Sheridan Lady Yellowjacket career this spring as the winningest softball pitcher in program history.
When her record of 45 wins is eventually broken, Bonner can jokingly blame coach Eddie Woodall for not letting her set a virtually unbreakable mark.
“She’s been our lead pitcher for four years,” Woodall said. “She has more wins than anybody in school history and she could easily have 80 or 90 wins. We just always split it up with at least one other pitcher. Sydney, though, she has always gotten the tough games. She would always pitch against Benton and almost every time against White Hall. …
“Every year she would have 10 to 12 to 15 wins a year. She could have had a lot more, if we’d let her pitch more. We had three I think with six or more wins this year.”
Bonner topped that list while factoring in the decision in exactly half of Sheridan’s 30 games. The righty finished her senior season with a 14-1 record with an anemic 0.47 ERA.
Giving up, on average, less than one earned run every two games alone was enough for Bonner to warrant consideration to earn The Commercial’s Southeast Arkansas softball Pitcher of the Year. Doing so for a 6A team that reached the state championship game for the first time in 15 years? That ends the discussion.
“I guess I did about the same as the other years,” Bonner said modestly of her senior year. “I was just glad we could make it to the state finals.”
Sheridan ultimately fell to Benton in the title game but Bonner proved she was one of the top pitchers in the entire state this year. She also showed this season that she could hit pretty well, too.
“I was glad I got to bat this year,” she said. “I didn’t bat at all last year. …
“I was kind of surprised (I got to bat), but I was glad. I didn’t expect to get to hit.”
Bonner, who played shortstop when she wasn’t pitching, took full-advantage of the opportunity to hit, posting a .476 batting average, two home runs, 33 RBIs, and 15 runs scored. Her number of runs scored would have been much higher but Bonner would be lifted for a courtesy runner in games she was pitching.
“She is every bit as good a shortstop as she is a pitcher,” Woodall said. “… We had some great players this year. But she’s one of the best I’ve ever coached.
“And she’s an even better person.”
With all the great numbers Bonner put up this year, perhaps the statistic most indicative of what kind of person she is would be her 11 sacrifices.
“She would do whatever to help the team,” Woodall said. “You could have asked her to play any position, it didn’t matter to Sydney as much as winning.
“She’s one of the most selfless players I’ve coached.”
Bonner will be moving on to Henderson State in the fall but said she wouldn’t be playing softball for the Arkadelphia-based Division-II school.
“I was kind of back and forth,” she said of whether or not to play in college. “I have been playing for so long, I kind of wanted a break.”
Those within the Sheridan program will certainly miss Bonner, whom Woodall called “the glue of our team.”
“The kids love her,” he said. “Everybody loves Sydney. My 3-year-old grandson, says that’s his girlfriend.
“It didn’t matter if we were up four or down four, she always had the same big smile on her face. …
“She’s just a great person to be around.”