Solomon signs with WKU softball

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Sydne Solomon signed last week to continue her softball career with the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers. The Marshall County High School standout can now focus on her senior season after sitting out her junior year with a knee injury. Solomon was selected as the 12AA Offensive MVP both her freshman and sophomore years. With Solomon are her former coaches in the back row: Kevin McGehee, Heather Denton, Danny Hollingsworth, Lee Perryman, Scott Walls, and Wes Woods. Flanking Sydne in the front row are her parents Tara and Jeff Solomon.
Tribune photo by Mike Inglsbee

The Marshall County High School Tiger football program has been sending at least two players to play major college football the past three seasons and starting with Tigerette Sydne Solomon, the softball team is looking to join the high level signee club.

Solomon, a third baseman and catcher for the softball team, signed with Conference USA participant Western Kentucky during the fall national signing period.

A two-time district 12-AA offensive MVP (2015, 2016) as a freshman and sophomore, Solomon caught the eye of a multitude of schools, but ultimately felt like Western Kentucky felt like the best place to continue both softball and academics.

“When I first started getting looked at by WKU, Coach (Amy) Tudor really reeled me in,” Solomon explained. “Her personality and the way she thinks is very similar to me. She was also a catcher so we have a pretty good connection coming from the field.”

“I had a handful of schools that wanted me to come on unofficial visits, but none of them interest me the way WKU did,” Solomon added. “The first time I was on campus I remember telling my mom ‘This is it, this is my school.’ All my coaches in the past told me that when you find the right school you’ll know as soon as you get there, and you don’t think twice about it. I’m glad to call WKU my home.”

Solomon, who holds a 3.7 GPA and a 25 ACT score, hit 14 home runs and a .426 batting average in the 2015 and 2016 seasons combined.

That kind of production is rare and much appreciated by former Tigerette coach Heather Denton, who coached Solomon from 2015-17.

“Sydne is an amazing softball player,” Denton said. “She made my job easier but also a challenge because you wanted to use her everywhere. She is great at everything she does. Behind the plate you knew she would block any ball that was close, frame pitches perfectly, and throw anyone out.”

“I don’t remember any teams that would try to steal on her,” Denton continued. “Her bat was even better. I had full confidence in her at the plate. She has great bat speed and strength. Lastly, she works hard to be the best she can be. What more can a coach ask for?”

And like most players that have dedicated a large amount of spare time to mastering one or two sports at an early age, Solomon knew softball was her destiny before she even reached middle school.

“I knew softball was the sport I wanted to take to college when I was about eight and was watching the Olympic softball on TV and I told my parents “I want to be like them,” Solomon remembered. “My parents and coaches told me what I had to do to get there. Of course I was eight and every little kid has huge dreams, but I’m very blessed to have received an offer from a D1 college and I can only build from there.”

“Softball has my heart and always has,” Solomon offered. “I’ve never had a moment in my life where I didn’t want to play ball or I felt like I wanted to do something else. Softball has always been my sport and I’m blessed to be able to play the game I love.”

Solomon was a key component on the Tigerettes’ district championship team in 2015 (20-11, 9-2) and district semi-finalist 2016 squad (23-10, 7-3) that lost by one run to sectional participant Cascade, but the 2017 season was over before it got started due to a torn ACL during one of the last basketball games of the season.

“Last year when I got injured, I was already committed to WKU,” Solomon said. “I was playing basketball when I tore my ACL and the first thing I could think about was, ‘Am I going to lose my scholarship?’ The scariest phone call I’ve ever made was calling coach Tudor to tell her what happened but she was more concerned about my well-being compared to my scholarship. “She told me to work hard on coming back, get well, and to keep her updated,” Solomon continued. “I’m very grateful for the way she reacted and I’m grateful to have her as a future coach. On my time off, I have therapy three times a week for about an hour and 30 minutes, I would go to the gym and do upper body workouts and I would hit off a tee while sitting on a bucket. I did everything I could do when I had to chance,

I couldn’t take a break and I definitely couldn’t stand staying away from ball.”

Solomon’s presence was definitely felt on the field last season as the Tigerettes, preseason favorites to win the district crown struggled to a 10-18 finish and 4-8 district record.

The Tigerettes lost nine games by three runs or less, including five games by one run which including an 8-7 loss to district 7-3A runner-up Riverdale early in the season.

The loss of Solomon was the difference in several of those close losses. “Losing her was a major blow to our season,” Denton stated. “She led the team her freshman and sophomore year in home runs and RBIs and had one of the highest batting averages. Which was hard for her because most teams choose not to pitch to her.

“So taking her bat out of the lineup and her leadership off the field had a major impact,” Denton added. “The girls did a good job of trying to step up in different roles, but losing her definitely changed the outcome of our season.

We lost several games by one run. In the previous years, she scored a run every game, so that makes the difference between a win and a loss.”

But with fall giving away to winter, spring is just around the corner and Solomon and her fellow Tigerettes will have a chance to go out on top before beginning what will most assuredly be a successful college career.

“The relief of signing before my final season in high school is amazing,” Solomon said. “Pressure has never been a problem for me, but being that I missed my junior season I really want to focus on beating the home run record, something that has been my goal since my 8th grade year which Austyn Whaley holds at 26. Most of all I want to enjoy my senior season, have fun and take it all in.”

The Hilltoppers, who finished just 17-30 last season, list just two seniors on the current roster, so Solomon will have an experienced club to step into while also being able to compete from the start.

“I picture and expect Sydne to make impact quickly at WKU,” Denton said. “Her bat can’t be stopped, so I believe the coach will find a spot somewhere for her on the field. I know she will work hard because she wants to be on the field and make an impact for her team. I can’t wait to see what she does this season as a Tigerette and next year at WKU.”

And like all other former Marshall County athletes now playing at the college level, Solomon can expect a large amount of support from the hometown fans.