Webster’s dictionary defines dominance as “exercising authority of influence. Controlling, ruling and prevailing” are other descriptive terms.
That in a nutshell is what Baylor’s Syd Berzon was on Wednesday afternoon in a prep softball game with arch-rival GPS where the Lady Red Raiders improved to 5-0 with the 6-0 victory.
Berzon is a slender 17-year-old junior from Buffalo, N.Y. who has already committed to play in the SEC at LSU. She’s rated as one of the top high school pitching prospects in the nation and she showed why against the Bruisers as she came within one pitch of tossing a perfect game.
GPS catcher Ansley Blevins got hit in the foot on a 1-2 pitch in the fourth inning and was stranded at first. Turns out, it was the only base runner for GPS as Berzon faced one hitter over the minimum while striking out a season-high 16 Bruisers without allowing a walk.
“It was nice to be out here today as GPS is a really good rival, but we stepped up and hit it,” said Berzon shortly after the 6-0 shutout was over.
“I went out there with a lot of confidence and my goal was to stay strong from start to finish,” she added.
Kelli Smith has been blessed with outstanding pitching during her time as Baylor’s head coach. Berzon may be the best yet.
“She’s special, that’s for sure, and has the ability to absolutely dominate a game. She took over today,” said Smith afterward.
“She’s one of the top prospects in the country, but her teammates love her and always rally around her. She’s been close to a perfect game before, but she threw it well today,” the coach continued.
While Berzon was the winner for Baylor, southpaw Mikayla Beard took the loss for the Bruisers after allowing six runs on 11 hits. She also walked one, struck out one and hit two.
Sophomore Katie Raper was the hitting star for Baylor on Wednesday as she stroked a two-run homer in the second inning to give Baylor a 2-0 lead before ripping a two-run double down the line in left to double the lead.
Berzon, one of four Baylor players with two hits on the day, had a run-scoring single in the fourth while Riley Oleksik led off the Baylor sixth with a solo homer off the foul pole in left to conclude the scoring.
GPS coach Martha Hanzelik was quick to praise the Baylor pitcher.
“She’s a great pitcher to be sure, but we just have to get people on base. We needed to make some adjustments and weren’t able to, but we have some time between now and the next time we play them. We went out and tried,” Hanzelik nodded.
Oleksik had three hits for Baylor, including the solo homer, while Raper was joined by Morgan Sharpe, Cadashia Collins and Berzon as those with two hits.
Maddie Hubbard flied to center for the only GPS ball hit to the outfield. Chapel Cunningham was out when she ran into a slow dribbler in front of the plate in the fourth and she grounded to second in her final at-bat in the sixth. Jozlyn Layne and Kennedy Moody both popped to the catcher in the sixth and seventh innings for the only five outs that weren’t strikeouts.
Baylor returns to action on Friday at the Gibbs Invitaitional where they play Powell in the first game. Powell was the team champion in the Clifford Kirk Memorial Tournament at Soddy Daisy on Saturday.
GPS will also be in the same tournament.
GPS 000 000 0 – 0 0 2
BAYLOR 022 101 x – 6 11 0
Beard and Blevins; Berzon and Sellers.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)