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Sherrill’s impact has been remarkable but goes beyond the numbers

Sydney Sherrill allowed herself to be sentimental for just a moment as she took a glimpse of Jo Anne Graf Field on Wednesday. Florida State’s two-time All-American has two regular-season home series left and the Seminoles are a top-5 team, easily in line to host a regional and potentially a Super Regional. But she looked out and, just beyond the infield, saw her No. 24 jersey number as well as those for two other seniors, right-hander Danielle Watson and reserve Maegan Tomlinson. The trio will be honored on Saturday afternoon during FSU’s game against Clemson.

“Getting a chance to reflect and celebrate the people part of our game is a lot of fun,” FSU coach Lonni Alameda said. “And also the family members. There’s been a lot of time spent at ballfields from the age of 10, 12, 13, 14 to recruiting time. It’s really cool for them to be able to celebrate their time too. I think something that’s been special about this program is protecting it and leaving it better than you found it. Syd, Danielle and Maegan can definitely say that. They’ve done a really good job of pouring into this team and being proud of it and giving it the culture it needs to continue to move forward.”

Sherrill announced last summer her intent to return to FSU, using the extra COVID year to play for FSU in 2022. She is hitting .299 with two home runs, 24 RBI and 34 runs with a discerning eye — Sherrill has 13 strikeouts but has 38 walks and it’s why her .475 on-base percentage is second among the Seminoles (Mack Leonard is at .484). And Sherrill has flashed the glove at third, one of the most important positions on the softball diamond.

“It wasn’t a huge decision for me,” Sherrill said of coming back this season. “I know I wanted to if the coaches wanted me. They said they wanted me. Glad to be here, glad to spend my last year here. Definitely had a pretty good year so far. Looking forward to the rest of the season and this weekend especially.”

Sherrill and the No. 5 Seminoles take on No. 17 Clemson in a three-game series that begins on Thursday at 8 p.m. (ESPN2). It’s yet another national spotlight for the Seminoles, who will also face the Tigers on Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (2 p.m.) in games on the ACC Network. Sherrill has seen the growth of the sport first-hand, joining the Seminoles and playing as a freshman on the 2018 championship team and then opting to come back after the national runner-up season in 2021.

“It’s been awesome to be a part of and just see the growth of the sport,” Sherrill said. “Just so excited for softball in general to be on national television and grow, little girls watching us play and wanting to be us. I just think it’s so cool the amount of fans that are at away games, that are at our games, midweek games. It’s been cool to experience, my freshman year maybe not having as much publicity and not as many fans at games … To now having won the national championship, play in it last year. Being a really competitive team, just really growing this FSU fan base and the culture of softball in general. It’s just been awesome to be a part of. Sad that I’m leaving but really excited for this last run that we’ll make.”

Sherrill is among the program’s best hitters and defensive players. She is FSU’s career leader in doubles (76), by a wide margin over Jessie Warren and Alex Powers (51), and has the ACC record too (Virginia’s Kristen Dennis has 58). Sherrill is third on FSU’s RBI list (192), tied for fourth in home runs (36) and fourth in runs (210).

When asked what she will remember most about her college career, Sherrill mentioned FSU’s coaches and teammates as well as the connection she has made around campus and within the community that has supported the team. Alameda said what fans don’t often see is Sherrill’s leadership.

“Syd skill-wise came in in 2018 off the charts and probably is leaving this season as off the charts character-wise,” Alameda said. “It’s one thing when you come into a program and you can start to play the game. But your character starts to show throughout your two, three, four years you’re here. Your leadership abilities, how you give to the program and how you continue to learn and build yourself. Her leadership and captain abilities are off the charts.”