Torrington pitching star Matzko says it's North Carolina. By John Torsiello.
It must be nice to be starting your junior season in high school and have it figured out as to where you will attend college to continue your academic and athletic careers.
That’s the situation Torrington’s Sydney Matzko finds herself in after verbally committing to attend the University of North Carolina on a full scholarship in the fall of 2014.
The talented southpaw, who dazzled the competition with one of the greatest seasons in Connecticut schoolgirl history this past spring, is thrilled to have her decision made.
”North Carolina became my number one school and I found out that it is such a nice place with a great softball program that I decided to not wait and commit to early. I’m really excited to be able to play at such a high level athletic and academic university.”
The Tar Heels play in the rough and tumble Atlantic Coast Conference, where they posted a 43-15 record last season, losing to Georgia in the NCAA tournament’s Athens Regional.
NCAA rules do not allow UNC head coach Donna Papa to comment on the status of Matzko until after she officially signs a National Letter of Intent, as well as other scholarship papers.
Those forms will be signed by Matzko in the fall of her senior year of high school.
Said Matzko, who struck out over 300 batters last season and posted an earned run average below one as she led the Raiders to 21 wins and a berth in the quarterfinals of the state Class M tournament, “It’s not like anything will change with softball in high school now that I have decided where I want to go to college. I’ll work even harder to make sure I’m ready to play at the Division I level and help my high school team.”
Matzko’s 2011 season was one highlighted, well, by individual highlights in addition to helping Torrington to its best season ever.
There was a 20-strikeout game against Kennedy, a 19-strikeout effort in a no-hitter against Sacred Heart, a no-hitter against Derby in which she fanned 13 batters, and pitching Torrington over Naugatuck to capture the Naugatuck Valley League’s Copper Division championship.
She can swing the stick as well, as indicative of her four-for-four, two doubles, five RBI effort against Wolcott.
She was her brilliant self in the NVL Tournament. She allowed just one hit and fanned 12 in pitching the Raiders over Wolcott, and allowed just one run in a win the same day over Naugatuck.
In a 1-0 championship game loss to Seymour she was superb, allowing five hits to one of the top teams in the state and striking out 12 batters.
As a freshman she pitched 98 innings, striking out 157, walking just 15 and posting a 1.86 earned run average.
One of Matzko’s main strengths is her uncanny accuracy.
She doesn’t walk many batters and consistently stays ahead of hitters.
The lack of wildness also keeps her fielders on their toes. Matzko, who throws in the low 60’s and has a nasty changeup that keeps hitters constantly off balance, has been a busy young lady this summer.
She’s traveled the country with her AAU team, the Gold Coast Hurricanes, playing tournaments in Pennsylvania, Denver, Chicago, New York and Alabama.
She turned in 26 and two-thirds scoreless innings to help the Hurricanes finish fifth of 151 teams in a 16U tournament in Florida.
“It’s pretty much been playing softball all summer,” she commented. “Things have been going well. The highlight was a game in Alabama that started at night and was tied 0-0 after seven innings. We went to a tiebreaker, we scored to take the lead. The opposing team had a runner on third with one out and we got out of the jam by turning a double play.”
She’s been home the last two weeks, “going hard with training,” running and working on her endurance.
“I’ve also been working on my mechanics as well,” she said.
With only one key player graduated, Matzko and her teammates are looking forward to making some noise next spring on the softball diamond.
With college decided upon, she can go out and let it fly and enjoy the results along with her buddies.