Young Guns: Sydnie Watts (2025); 68 mph Fastball (Right-Handed Pitcher & Power Hitter)
Name: Sydnie Watts
Hometown: Youngstown, Ohio
Grad Year: 2025
Travel Team: Lady Dukes Betsa/Hebert/Lamar
High School: Austintown Fitch
Fastball: 65-68 mph
Screwball: 67 mph
Curve: 66 mph
Rise: 65 mph
Change: 45-57 mph (varies depending on what speed is called)
Overhand: 65 mph
Exit Velocity off Tee: 77 mph
Young Guns is a reoccurring article, in which we spotlight fireball pitchers who have verified game time cruising speeds of at least 60 miles per hour. Today, we are highlighting Sydnie Watts, a 2025 graduate who plays for the Lady Dukes Betsa/Hebert/Lamar team. Sydnie has an amazing pitching arsenal and is an absolute stud power hitter.
Who are you? I am Sydnie Watts and I love softball. I love everything about it. Softball has been my life since I was 7 years old. I have worked hard year round to reach my goals and I am always ready to step up in any situation to be the player that my team needs. I have worked extremely hard to get the recognition I am getting now. I want to continue improving every day and I want to play with and against the best players in the nation. I believe nothing is given in elite travel and college softball and everything is earned. From recruitment, to playing time, to championships. I strive to earn my dream of playing college softball and winning championships with my team now and in college.
How does it feel to be considered one of the most dominant elite pitching prospect in the 2025 class? It’s always a great feeling when I am able to pull through in challenging situations for my team, but there are always areas I can improve in.
What is your gametime fastball cruising speed and what is the fastest you have been clocked? What other pitches do you use and what are their readings? What is your favorite or Go-to pitch and why? During games I am usually 65-67 consistently but my fastest I’ve been clocked at is 68 by the James Madison University (JMU) coaching staff. My go-to pitch is a Scrize, it is a combination of a screwball and rise ball, and it is clocked 64-66. But, I throw my regular screwball the same speed as my fastball, 65-67, with a 5.3 spin break according to Rapsodo. I also throw a curve and that’s usually 65-66 and my change up is 45-57 depending on what is called.
Sydnie Pitching a 68 mph Fastball at the JMU Camp
"Not only is Sydnie physically talented, she has great presence on the mound and is always willing to listen and gather feedback. This isn't always the case with athletes who are at the top of their age group in skill level. Every time I have had the opportunity to talk with Sydnie about her performance, she listens with full intensity and confidence. This is the mark of a champion. Sydnie's best softball is still in front of her. She has a ton of potential to make a big impact at the next level!"
--- Julie Jones, USA Softball High Performance Program Coach
What is your greatest strengths as a softball player? I will work endlessly to make myself better for my team. I am a team first and teammates always player.
What are your most recent offensive and defensive stats? What kind of hitter are you?
This Fall Ball season I finished with a .390 Batting Average, .493 On Base Percentage, 10 Homeruns, and 28 Runs Batted In. I am a power hitter and I bat 5th-6th in the lineup.
My Fall Ball pitching stats: 61 Innings Pitched, 153 Strikeouts, .457 Earned Run Average, .071 Batting Average Against.
You’re an outstanding hitter that your coaches want in the lineup. How does that affect your playing time as a Pitcher? I feel like it doesn’t affect my playing time. When I am not pitching I am either a Designated Hitter or playing somewhere on the field.
Olivia Turner and Sydnie with Home Run Balls
“Her ability to throw with top speed, spin, and control makes her an absolute huge threat in the circle. Sydnie's offensive game is just as threatening as her pitching as she consistently hits with immense power at the plate.”
--- Coach Megan Betsa, Lady Dukes Betsa/Hebert/Lamar
“She works hard, she holds herself to top standards, and overall is a great team mate.”
--- Coach Logan Hebert, Lady Dukes Betsa/Hebert/Lamar
You have been called the "Go-to Pitcher" and "Clutch in the Circle Pitcher". Why is that?
My coaches have always known that I can perform under pressure. So I can be a starter or a closer; I have been put in multiple times with bases loaded no outs and was able to get out of the inning, allowing no runs. I am good at controlling my emotions and focusing. I thrive in pressure situations and in the biggest games.
Describe your leadership style and what characteristics do you find in outstanding leaders?
I try my best to stay positive in any situation. An outstanding leader in my opinion is someone who takes responsibility and cheers on their teammates.
“One of the highest compliments I can give her is that she is a team first player in a circle drive game. She is one of the first to high five, to compliment, to build, to encourage and when all of your team leaders set the standard in this way…the sky is the limit. Syd exemplifies what a high level, high trust player looks like on your team. It’s the hours no one sees. The lifting, the conditioning, the travel, the doing homework at 1 AM by a overhead light in the car because you are coming from a tournament, the lessons, the workouts, the fine tune spin sessions…this is the separation from good to great and Sydnie has all of those characteristics.”
--- Coach Steven Ward, Austintown Fitch High School
Describe your Gameday mental preparation and your thought process and mindset in the circle. I try to come to games well rested with a clear mind. I play my best when I take the game one pitch at a time.
Announcement for Lady Dukes Betsa/Hebert/Lamar 16U
What is your favorite sports memory and greatest achievement? My greatest achievement is going undefeated back to back years at Scenic City in the Super Pool with Ohio Lasers Silver.
How do you handle adversity and even failure? I feel like setting small goals helps me overcome both adversity and failure.
Who is your role-model and or idol? Odicci Alexander
If you could spend a day with any softball player, former or current, who would it be and why?
Odicci Alexander because she showed determination to overcome obstacles to achieve her goals.
What is your softball dream/goal? To have the opportunity to pitch and hit in college.
Describe your perfect softball team. I do my best when I am surrounded by girls who work hard while having fun and have the same goals as me.
What gets you hyped or ready before a game? Music and my teammates are definitely two of the things that get me hyped and ready for a game.
Cali Legzdin, Ayla Ray, and Sydnie at JMU Camp
What is your favorite jersey number and why did you choose it? My favorite jersey number is #5 because when I was younger I always wanted #6 for my dad's birthday but I always got #5 and it just kinda stuck.
What other hobbies do you have to balance out softball and your personal life? I usually don’t have much time outside of softball, but when I do, I love spending it with my family and friends and watching my sister play sports.
Who would you like to thank for your softball achievements and support? I want to thank my parents and my sister for all their support and for helping me achieve my goals. My dad has spent countless hours on the bucket, throwing my front toss, hitting me ground balls, and coaching me to become the best player I could be. My mom has spent just as many hours booking flights, hotels, and driving me anywhere I had/wanted to go, whether that’s for college camps, a tournament, or just practice, and finally, my sister for being my biggest supporter, for taking the time she could have spent hanging out with her friends or doing what normal pre-teens do to travel all over the country to cheer me on.
Sydnie with Her Family
Legacy & Legends Softball Analysis and Evaluation: Sydnie is an absolute Tier 1 Stud ballplayer. Having her on your roster assures you have a lockdown dominating Ace in the circle and a power hitting run producer in the lineup. There is countless things about Sydnie that we love and honestly are in awe about. Her JMU Camp verified 68 mph fastball, game cruising mid-60s pitches, and the extreme spin rotation and breaks on her movement pitches are just a few things. Her ability to hit Dingers and produce in the lineup as well as playing different defensive positions just further shows her versatility and athleticism. One thing that doesn't get enough attention is that she is an outstanding humble leader that leads by example, keeps her frosty cool composure, and is always positive and encouraging. A respected natural leader on the field and in the dugout. Sydnie continues to push herself to improve and will be an opening day starter in her first year of college if she continues on this trajectory. Definitely a Top 100 prospect for her year group and a "must-recruit" prospect for all college programs.
Additional Info About Sydnie
Walk up Song: I Got 5 On It
Favorite Food: Pasta
Favorite Song: Doin’ This
Favorite Band: Luke Combs
Favorite Book: A Long Walk to Water
Favorite Movie: The Sandlot
Fun Fact: My dog is my favorite human
Favorite Softball Moment: Hitting 68 mph at JMU