Sydney Dwyer keeps mood light, hitting heavy with Gophers softball

The junior is second on the team in both batting average and home runs this year.

Junior Sydney Dwyer anticipates a catch during a game against South Dakota on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

Ellen Schmidt

Junior Sydney Dwyer anticipates a catch during a game against South Dakota on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

Kyle Steinberg

Every team needs a joker, and for the Gophers softball team, it’s Sydney Dwyer.

Dwyer, a junior infielder, carries a reputation for cracking up her teammates — an importantasset in a long, road-heavy softball season.

“She’s definitely one of the funniest people I’ve met in my entire life,” said senior pitcher Sara Groenewegen. “She’s always bringing laughter to our locker room, which is much needed in some cases.”

So just how does Dwyer keep the mood light? She describes herself as witty, and she is and known to pull a prank from time to time.

“I took the toilet paper out of the one bathroom we have on the bus,” Dwyer said with a laugh. “[Associate head coach Jessica] Merchant got the end of that one, so no more taking the toilet paper out of there.”

While the team joker doesn’t always carry a lot of weight when competition time rolls around, the same can’t be said for Dwyer.

She is second on the team in batting average at .411 and home runs with six, and she is ranked fifth in the nation in RBI per game at 1.31.

Last season, she hit a .302 average, which was sixth on the team.

She has already reached her home run total from last season and has surpassed her RBI production from 2016 as well — and there are still 19 games remaining in the regular season schedule.

“[Dwyer’s] just matured as a softball player,” said head coach Jessica Allister. “I think the biggest piece is she has been very consistent with her approach.”

Dwyer’s improvement coincides with a more dynamic Minnesota offense this season.

The Gophers have four hitters batting .400 or better. Last year, their leading hitter batted .366.

There are still quite a few games to be played, but the Gophers are scoring at a torrid pace.

They rank in the nation’s top ten in many team categories, including second in doubles per game, fifth in batting average and slugging percentage, and sixth in total scoring.

“The more depth, the better,” Allister said. “I think that’s one of the strengths of our team. We can score up and down the lineup.”

The jokester is right in the midst.

During the season’s first road trip to Texas, the Gophers made a music playlist for the bus tailored to where they were playing, whichmeant country music.

The first song on the playlist was heavy on the fiddle, and that’s where Dwyer took over.

“She was doing all this fiddle, stupid dancing,” said Groenewegen. “Now it’s an inside joke with everyone that she is the fiddle player. We’re going to buy her a fiddle on Amazon just to make the joke even funnier.”

One thing is for certain: if Dwyer can play an actual fiddle as well as she plays softball, it will be some sweet music.