Stoney Creek softball standout signs with OU

By: Timothy Pontzer | Rochester Post | Published November 14, 2017

 Sidney Rayba, left, sits with her brother, Johnny, and her parents, John and Kerry, after officially signing with Oakland University Nov. 8. A standout center fielder for Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, Rayba has set season records in hits, runs and triples.

Sidney Rayba, left, sits with her brother, Johnny, and her parents, John and Kerry, after officially signing with Oakland University Nov. 8. A standout center fielder for Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, Rayba has set season records in hits, runs and triples.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

ROCHESTER HILLS — Sidney Rayba will continue her softball career nearly in her backyard.

The Rochester Hills Stoney Creek standout officially signed with Oakland University Nov. 8, a choice made easy by the 6 miles separating her prep and college diamonds.

“I chose OU back in January after going on a few visits, and I kind of knew that’s where I wanted to be,” Rayba explained. “I think a lot of people underestimate the value of staying close to home. I’m excited that my parents will be able to come watch me play. I like the coaching staff and team, and the campus is absolutely beautiful, plus they have a wonderful business program.”

Before Rayba becomes a Golden Grizzly, she still has one spring left as a Cougar. This upcoming season will be her fourth year on varsity.

“I want to be ranked as an All-State player — that’s been my goal since freshman year,” Rayba said. “I also want to win districts. It would be the first time in school history, and I would love to do that with my team.”

Stoney Creek coach Tom Hayman believes Rayba can help lead the club to those goals and more.

“I expect amazing things out of her. I think she’s going to have a monster year,” Hayman said. “So far, she’s the best player I’ve ever coached. I’m excited to see her at OU. It’s great she’ll be close. She definitely has what it takes for the next level.”

As a freshman, Rayba set the program record for most hits in a season with 67. Her sophomore year saw her set a new mark in runs (47), and last season she broke the record for triples (14). She earned All-Region accolades last year after batting .495 with a slugging percentage of .919.

“She can hit for so much power; it is really outstanding,” Hayman remarked. “She can hit homers; she can slap, hit and bunt. In a typical at-bat for her, she’s at the back of the box and (the opponent) is calling for a slap. She can fake a bunt on the first pitch, and then the next thing you know she’s hitting one over the fence. Very rarely do you see someone who has the whole package like that.”

Rayba takes great pride in her speed, a strength that has allowed her to record over 20 steals each of the last three seasons.

“Her speed is exceptional. You see it in center field, where she’s really locked it down for us,” Hayman said. “Her base-running speed and smarts are out of this world. She has this intuition on the basepaths like nothing I’ve ever seen. She’s always making good decisions that lead to extra bases.”

This spring, Rayba will serve as a team captain for the second straight year. It’s something she believes has helped her become a better player while preparing her for Oakland.

“I like being the person my teammates can turn to,” Rayba said. “I believe it will help me at the next level because it has given me a sense of leadership. Being in center (field), I’m constantly talking and directing my teammates.”

Hayman praised Rayba’s leadership, calling it vital to Stoney Creek’s Oakland Activities Association White Division title in 2015.

“She leads by example and always plays super hard,” Hayman said. “She’s always looking to grind it out and has a very good work ethic. She’s extremely focused and is going hard whether we’re up or down 10. She’s always hungry, and the other kids learn from that.”

Rayba said her time with Hayman and the Cougars has helped her to develop a team-first mindset that she will carry on in college.

“More than anything, Stoney Creek and Coach Hayman really put an emphasis on the team aspect,” Rayba said. “I believe that has helped me as a player, because there’s so many players out there that simply play for themselves and not the team as a whole.”

In addition to Rayba, five other Stoney Creek student-athletes made their official choices in the school’s Nov. 8 ceremony. Trevor Husanger will play baseball at Ohio Valley University; Molly Asmus will head to Dayton for volleyball; Lucy and Claire Schenden will swim at Michigan State University; and Harrison Steen will also be a Spartan, competing in cross country and track.