Torrey Pines center fielder Sydny Poh (right), in the dugout with teammate Haley White, plans to play as a senior before having surgery on her shoulders.
Like a lot of young softball players, Sydny Poh has enjoyed having a special area to work on her hitting. However, it was not in her backyard as is the case most of the time.
Poh has taken batting practice using foam balls inside her house during her three injury-plagued years as the center fielder at Torrey Pines High.
That’s as strenuous as she’s allowed to be as she recuperates from her six shoulder dislocations.
“I broke a window and my parents’ wedding photo,” said Poh, laughing.
That Poh can laugh at all is a testament to a mature outlook that has kept her from becoming depressed over missing so many games.
As a freshman, Poh dislocated her left shoulder three times and her right shoulder once but managed to play 26 games.
Sophomore year, she dislocated her right shoulder and played just six games.
This season was her best right up until a couple weeks ago. Poh was napping in the team room before a game when a teammate awoke her suddenly. Poh jerked so violently that her left shoulder was pulled out of the socket.
“I was shocked it happened again,” the 5-foot-4 Poh said. “I’d been so careful all season, sliding and throwing to protect my shoulder after last year.
“Things happen and you just have to go with it. There’s no curse or bad voodoo. Dad gets the blame for my loose ligaments.
“All I can do is rehab both shoulders again and hope it holds up next year.”
Yes, Poh plans to return to play her senior year if her shoulders cooperate.
Poh batted .393 with 12 RBIs as a freshman. She had five RBIs in her six games last season.
This year, she batted .463 with a home run and 28 RBIs in 25 games.
“What a great year she was having,” Torrey Pines coach Jon Moore said. “I thought she was done after last season, but she started crushing the ball.
“This injury, of all her injuries, hurts because I thought we had a chance in the Open Division playoffs.”
Through it all, Poh remains upbeat, looking for the silver lining in a situation most of her friends admitted would drive them to depression.
Not Poh. She helps out the other outfielders during games and does whatever she can.
“I was so close to actually making it through the season without getting hurt,” she said. “I’ve learned to deal with it. I love softball too much to not play, even like this.
“It’s just softball. It’s not life and death.
“My teammates think I’m a cat with nine lives because I keep coming back.”
At some point following her senior year, Poh will need surgery on both joints to reduce the risk of her shoulders repeatedly popping out as an adult.
She also has a pair of torn labrums that need to be repaired.
“I could go the rest of my life without surgery, but there’s a chance I’d get arthritis by the time I’m 40,” Poh said. “I have to ice my shoulders at breakfast, dinner and any free time when I’m home.
“Every time I leave the doctor’s office he always says he hopes he never sees me again.”
But he does.