Backstrom continues to rack up awards
With her final pitch of the 2021 season now nearly a week in the rearview, Longwood ace Sydney Backstrom continues to solidify her standing among the elite pitchers in Lancer softball history.
The reigning Big South Pitcher of the Year, Backstrom’s latest stake to that claim came Thursday when the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) named her to the All-Region third team as one of 11 pitchers on the Southeast squad encompassing schools in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Backstrom is the eighth player in Longwood softball history to earn NFCA All-Southeast Region honors and the program’s fourth pitcher, joining fellow Big South Pitcher of the Year Elizabeth McCarthy (2015, 2016, 2017), All-Big South selection Sydney Gay (2018) and 2013 Big South Player of the Year and All-American Brooke Short (2013). She also joins former four Longwood position players to earn all-region honors, including Big South Player of the Year and All-American Megan Baltzell (2013, 2014, 2015), All-Big South catcher KaylynnBatten (2018), four-time All- Big South designated player Karleigh Donovan (2018), and All-Big South outfielder Kori Nishitomi (2013).
The all-region citation was the first of Backstorm’s career and followed her second All-Big South first-team selection in 2021. Also crowned the Longwood Female Co-Athlete of the Year this week, Backstrom logged a 2.34 ERA and led the Big South with 19 wins, a .185 opponent batting average and 189 strikeouts. She also ranked among the top three nationally with 209.2 innings pitched, 25 complete games and 34 starts while throwing more than 60 percent of Longwood’s innings.
The 6-1 Backstrom was even better in Big South play, going 11-3 with a 1.76 ERA during Longwood’s run to a third-place finish in the Big South standings. She was the winning pitcher in 11 of Longwood’s 14 conference victories, including three shutouts.
Included among those shutouts was a seven-inning perfect game on April 19 against Presbyterian that was the first such performance in Longwood softball history. Backstrom retired all 21 batters she faced in that effort, striking out nine and needing just 79 pitches to tear through the Blue Hose lineup. The performance also earned her one of four Big South Pitcher of the Week citations of the year, which was a Longwood record for one player in a single season.
Backstrom, who already ranks among Longwood’s all-time top 10 in wins (59), strikeouts (471), innings (608.1), complete games (53) and no-hitters (2), will return to Longwood in 2021-22 to play her final season with the Lancers and pursue her Master’s of Business Administration in the Longwood College of Business and Economics (CBE).
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