Lakeside's Griffith plays key role in Rockets softball team improvement

May 25—Sidney Griffith said it wasn't long ago she struggled with managing everything on her plate.

"I used to stress and worry a lot more," said the 2021 Lakeside graduate, who just completed her junior softball season at the University of Toledo. "By my third year, though, I have a priority list and I know what needs to get done first and I know what is worth stressing over and what isn't."

When making the jump from high school and travel ball to becoming leadoff hitter and starting shortstop for a Division I college program, it's only logical that by her junior year, there's more than settled into playing Division I college softball.

Griffith certainly showed that to be the case this spring.

Griffith was selected first-team All Mid American Conference in the 2024 season.

She holds six Lakeside softball records, and was also a standout volleyball player,.

For the Rockets this season, Griffith helped the team to their first-winning season since 2021. Toledo went 26-23 overall, 15-10 in MAC play.

Griffith hit a college career-best .372, which included 10 doubles and 32 runs scored.

Having her name listed as one of the best in the MAC is not something she takes lightly.

"It's such an honor," Griffith said. "If you look at some of the girls on that first team, those names just stick out to me because I know how good those players are and to be on the same list as them.

"I'm so grateful for all the ups and downs of the season. It is a long season, and it's not always pretty, but being able to ride out the highs and also riding with the lows ,it's an honor and it's something to be proud of."

Griffith credited her success to a little bit more familiarity this spring.

After playing for a new coach her freshman and sophomore year, Rockets coach Jessica Bracamonte returned for a second season.

Going into a season already knowing the coach was a pretty big deal.

"Just that alone helped a lot," Grifftih said.

There was a lot more than that though.

Griffith was anything but eased into her transition of becoming a college athlete.

It seemed she was a regular in the Rockets lineup from the day she signed her letter of commitment.

Now, having a few years under her belt helped tremendously.

"Just the maturity piece," Griffith started to explain. "Being a junior, some of the pitchers I'm facing, I'm facing them for a third time.

"Just for experience alone, I was very fortunate to get so much playing time my freshman and sophomore year and I think that's a big factor of why the game has slowed down so much for me this past year. I've kind of been there, done that."

For Bracamonte, Griffith's consistency paid huge dividends.

"Oh my gosh. She was a big part of our success this year," the coach said. "She really settled in offensively and defensively. She was calm and steady and our team really fed off from her presence."

Griffith settled in a bit as a team leader. She was thrust into that role the first time she stepped on the field two years ago. But now, as an upperclassman, Griffith said she was more than ready to embrace the role.

"You know I had a pretty big role my freshman and sophomore year as starting shortstop," she said. "Being so young, you almost feel not as comfortable being the leader you want to be, but being a third year player, you kind of have more respect, that's just how it is."

In the classroom and with all that entails college life, Griffith said she has settled in as well.

She sports a 3.9 grade-point average while majoring in human resource management and is on pace to graduate next spring.

She plans on spending most of her time this summer in Toledo where she'll continue to workout at the school's facilities, maybe pick up a part time job and hopefully relax a bit.

Griffith has one more year of softball left.

The plan is build on what her and her team accomplished this season.

"We've built a culture this year," she said. "We had a great senior class and just being able to follow those seniors and see what they've done to turn this program around within two years. That's also something that I plan to continue to do next year, even more with leadership off the field as well as on the field."