Courtesy of Michael Maher

When recounting the events in her life that inspired her to pick up the bat, catcher and first baseman of the softball team Sydney Grobman ’21 doesn’t point to a specific moment in time. Instead, she explained how she had always gravitated toward any sport she could play with her dad.

Looking at her playing days in high school, she was nothing short of sensational. She batted .474 in her career with a .777 slugging percentage and earned All-State honors. A two-time All-County selection, she was the Broward County, Florida Athlete of the Year in 2017. She not only helped lead her high school to the 2014 state championship, but she also captained the 2017 Gold Coast Hurricanes travel team, which finished seventh at the ASA nationals.

“I have so many amazing memories of going out to the field and just having a great time with [my dad] when I was younger,” Grobman said. “As soon as we realized that I had a shot at playing college softball, I knew I wanted to use it as an opportunity to go to a great school.”

Despite her high school accolades, Grobman was not guaranteed heavy playing time in the first year of her college career. However, the graduation of the Eli’s Most Valuable Player in 2017 — shortstop Laina Do ’17 — as well as the departure of elite offensive outfielders Rachel Paris ’17 and Camille Weisenbach ’17 left a void on the Bulldogs’ offense that Grobman was ready to fill.

Grobman credits the high quality of her high school opponents with preparing her for the transition to college softball.

“My high school was extremely competitive softball-wise, so we would always play the best teams and face pitchers who are now playing for the biggest schools in the country,” Grobman said. “I definitely feel more comfortable at Yale and feel like I belong more so than I did in high school. I have found my people, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities and the experiences Yale has given me.”

It would be a vast understatement to say that Grobman had a great rookie season; rather, her rookie season was groundbreaking. In the 37 games that she played, she hit for .333 with 14 RBIs, both of which ranked first on the team. She also tied for first on her team in home runs — three — all of which came during league play. Not only did she hit for power against division rivals, but she also hit for contact, batting .357 and bringing in 12 runs. Grobman earned All-Ivy Second Team honors for her play, and she was the recipient of the team’s Most Valuable Player Award.

In the 30 games that she has played this season for the Elis, she has tallied 38 hits, which ranks first not only on her team, but in the Ivy League as well. She is hitting .404, which ranks third in the Ancient Eight behind Dartmouth’s Micah Schroder, who averages .426, and Brown’s Madi Cranford, who averages .448. Grobman’s slugging percentage of .617 ranks fifth in the league. The four home runs she has hit put her in a tie for third place in the Ivy League, and her 25 RBI’s put her four runs ahead of the next closest Ivy Leaguer — Cornell’s Bridgette Rooney and Columbia’s Max Ortega.

The numbers Grobman puts up against division rivals are otherworldly. She is second in the Ivy league with a batting average of .606, third with a slugging percentage of .879 and is tied for first with a .667 on-base percentage. She is second in hits and RBIs, with 20 and 13, respectively, and tied for third with two home runs.

“Sydney is a very hard worker and someone who is willing to do whatever she needs in order to help the team succeed” captain and pitcher Terra Jerpbak ’19 said. “Whether that is defensively or offensively, she is willing to go all out and never give up. On the field she is supportive and is a loud voice that helps to lead and support everyone on the team.”

With 13 games left in the season, she is on pace to finish with 15 more hits and 20 more RBIs than she had in her MVP campaign last season, as well as twice the number of home runs. Grobman has batted in nearly a quarter of all the runs Yale has scored this season and owns a third of the team’s 13 home runs.

Grobman next takes the field against Brown this Saturday in Providence.

Jared Fel | jared.fel@yale.edu