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Standout seniors: Sydney Seney was driving force behind success of Cedar Creek softball

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By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher Not all athletes are born with the same DNA. Only a rare few have that strand that won’t allow them to give up. They’ll do whatever it takes to get on the field. It’s not even a conscious choice. It’s some sort of driving force inside them that can’t be explained. And either you have it or you don’t. Like what running coach Sam Mussabini told Harold Abrahams in the 1981 film “Chariots of Fire”, “You can’t put in what God’s left out.” Think Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles. He didn’t take a day off for 16 years. He played in 2,632 consecutive games. There was just something in his DNA that said: sun came up today. I’m gonna play baseball. Cedar Creek’s recently graduated shortstop, Sydney Seney, missed a lot of games during her career. Her entire sophomore season, in fact. But only because doctors forced her to the bench after she shredded her knee. It took something drastic, such as a ripped ACL, to get Seney out of the lineup. That’s just the kind of player she was for the Pirates. Shredding her left knee during her sophomore year didn't stop Cedar Creek's Sydney Seney from becoming one of the best shortstops in the Cape-Atlantic League. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O'Sullivan) Shredding her left knee during her sophomore year didn’t stop Cedar Creek’s Sydney Seney from becoming one of the best shortstops in the Cape-Atlantic League. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O’Sullivan) But Seney was in the lineup and on the field for the most important game, her last one as a high school softball player. It was a playoff loss, and in a few years will be forgotten by most. But it meant a lot to Seney. It meant that no matter what she had to face, she never gave up. And she was able to finish her career with dignity and class. Oh, and also as one of the best shortstops in the Cape-Atlantic League, even if she did get only two at-bats per game because she had to be taken out of the batting order after a pinch runner was used in each of her first two at-bats. “I was really upset and bummed out because it was one of those things where you had a chance to have the first hit (in school history). I missed all the opportunities to be the first to do something in Cedar Creek history,” Seney said of her sophomore season, which was the first that Cedar Creek fielded varsity teams. “But I still went to all the games. I wished I was playing, but it was the only thing I could do. “I actually came back strong my junior year. I finished with 47 hits and I felt strong. Even coming into this year I felt good. I didn’t really have any problems with (my knee).” “I was lucky enough to be in the same grade as her and we were able to start the program together. She got hurt and that was a big blow for our team, not only because she’s such a good player but also because she really does care about the sport a lot. You could tell she really wanted to be on the field, but she made her best effort to still come to all the games. She’s always been a really good motivator. It’s a lot easier when she’s around,” said teammate Rosalie Hood, who played center field this season before graduating. “It surprised me that she was able to get right back into it, diving for balls regardless of the fact that she had a metal brace on her leg. She never really let that stop her. And having her in the lineup, she has so much power when she hit the ball. We really relied on her.” The Pirates boast one of the best players in South Jersey in junior pitcher Cheyenne Meyer, who already has committed to play at Marshall University, but it was players such as Seney and Hood who provided senior leadership and consistency that helped Cedar Creek win its division, pile up more than 20 wins, and reach the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals this past season. “This season was by far my favorite. I wish we could have gone farther, but we finally won the conference, which was a big deal for us. We beat a team (Buena Regional) that we never thought we would beat, and I was glad to be a part of that,” Seney said. Hood said that Seney’s determination was a huge motivating factor for the rest of the Pirates, and just having her in the lineup helped turn the Pirates into a forced to be reckoned with in South Jersey. Seney was a key hitter in a lineup that helped the Pirates produce more than 20 wins this season. Seney was a key hitter in a lineup that helped the Pirates produce more than 20 wins this season. She’s always been battling an injury of some sort but she never let it stop her. I didn’t expect her to come back but she did. She never complained when she was in pain, she just played through it,” Hood said. “It definitely motivated us because we figured if she can do it, and she’s in pain every time she moves, we should be able to do the same thing. We have a lot of strong players, but none of us really had to go through something like that. She pushed through and never complained. I would say she definitely gave us a lot of motivation.” Seney came back strong her junior year after suffering the torn ACL as a sophomore, but had a setback as a senior. During the soccer season she tore her meniscus in the same knee and ended up having surgery in January, just two months before the softball season. Still, Seney wasn’t about to give up, or play scared. “I wanted to go hard with the mindset that if (getting re-injured) was going to happen, it was going to happen. I didn’t want think about it and play hesitantly, because the more I thought about it the more it was probably going to happen, where as if I just play my game and have fun at least I could get something out of it. I would rather have a good time and be with my friends, so I kind of just went for it,” Seney said. “It never once crossed my mind to give up. The entire time I was hurt the only thing I could think about was getting back from the injury because I love being out there on the field. My motivation was to rehab faster and get back quicker. For a while I wasn’t able to get out to practice much because I had to go to therapy so often.” In a way, however, the injury was a blessing in disguise. With so much down time during the recovery process she put more effort into her schoolwork, and kept climbing the ladder until she reached a No. 8 ranking in her senior class by graduation. She plans on attending the University of Maine this fall, where she said she will be studying civil engineering. “I was proud of myself for what I’ve done, even academically. I didn’t start out too well, which made my mom pretty mad, but I finished up in the top 10 in my class. I figured out that I was going to have to work a lot harder because (good grades) weren’t going to come easily,” Seney said. “I don’t think there was anything I would have changed. A lot of people asked me would I change having my injuries, and I don’t think I would because I definitely learned a lot from going through that.” Hood and Seney have been good friends since their kindergarten days, and Hood said having Seney by her side throughout her high school career is something she’ll treasure forever. “I’ve known her for a long time. She’s always funny and sarcastic, and she’s always there if you need somebody to talk to. I think she’s a great person, on and off the field. I feel very lucky to have a person like her in my life. She’s been a great friend and a great teammate. I wouldn’t have wanted to finish up with anyone other than the one I started with, so I was very lucky,” Hood said. “It was emotional at the end of it. We were lucky to have a team like that. Even though we didn’t win (a state title), we got to finish together and that’s what matters. Nobody really thought (Sydney) was going to be able to play again, but she was there until the very last game.” Seney said she takes great pride in the fact that she was able to complete her career in uniform and in the lineup, and said she will miss Cedar Creek High School. “There was a really good bond between my class and the teachers because we were all there from the beginning, and we set the bar so high for the school. We had a lot of different experiences. We were the first ones to ever be there,” Seney said. “Everyone was so excited to experience the pep rallies and everything. And everyone doubted us, we were the underdogs. But to show them that we (could win) even though we were a new school, that was the best part.” Time marches on, however, and Seney said she is ready for the next chapter in her life. “(High school) went by so fast. I still can’t believe I’m not in high school anymore. It’s such a weird feeling,” Seney said. “Your whole life you wake up at the same time every day, your mom packs your lunch for you, and now in a month I’m going to be on my own. But I’m really excited about it.” Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays [adsense]

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