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Sydney Bolan Finds New Role, Home At Duke

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(Photo by Duke Athletics)

Sydney Bolan has been a few places in her softball career. Bolan went from Fairport High School in Fairport, N.Y., where she broke the single season slugging percentage and RBI record as a team captain.

She then chose Central Connecticut State University as her next home at the collegiate level. In her two years there, she had a .314 batting average, hit 18 home runs and was selected to the All-NEC first team.

But in 2020, Bolan joined another Blue Devils team—the Duke Blue Devils. Currently ranked No. 22 in Softball America's NCAA Division I Top 25, Duke has had a stellar 2021 campaign thus far, which includes beating multiple Top 25 teams.

When talking to SA about the adjustment she underwent from a mid-major program to a top 25 team in the country, Bolan said that it was all about gaining confidence.

“It was definitely a tough adjustment. The pitching is better and the speed of the game is much faster, and it took me some time to adjust,” Bolan said. “I had the confidence that I could play at CCSU and do well and I kind of just needed to get that same confidence here.”

And Bolan said she has found that confidence at the plate with Duke this year. She primarily serves as a designated hitter for the Blue Devils and is currently batting .265 in 34 at-bats this season. Perhaps her biggest hit of the year thus far came back in February against LSU, when Bolan hit a two-run double.

“When talking with my coaches, they had all the confidence in me and so did all of my teammates,” Bolan said. “It was just trusting myself and saying that I could do it. That helped me gain confidence.”

Being called on to pinch hit or be a team's designated hitter is never an easy task. But for Bolan, the moment is never too big.

“I’m just ready to pinch hit when I can, whoever our coaches think is going to give us the best shot to win the game,” Bolan said. “So that’s kind of my focus, being locked in so that I’m ready for that moment when I need to come up.”

Making the jump from CCSU to Duke hasn’t been easy for her, but Bolan said she is ready for any challenge that comes her way the rest of the season.

“It’s been really awesome, and to be along for this ride has been crazy and something I never thought was possible,” Bolan said. “It’s been an awesome journey so far and everyone’s super locked in and excited to just keep going. Our goal is to make it to the College World Series, and we are trying to make that happen every practice and game.”

Bolan and the Blue Devils (27-6) will be back in action on Friday for the first of four ACC games at first-place Florida State. Duke currently sits in fourth place in the conference standings behind the Seminoles, Clemson and Virginia Tech.

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