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Sydney Fabian

To personify Sydney Fabian's softball-playing abilities through the baked goods she sells, think seven-layer cake. Or a variety box of goodies filled with enticing, hearty flavors that find different ways to win you over.

In fact, Fabian's boss, Colleen Conway, was her coach at Hill-Murray High School the past two years.

Together they've formed a special relationship through work and sport. Fabian knew a little about Conway, a former Gopher, from attending camps at the University of Minnesota when she was younger. Conway then began helping out Hill-Murray, her high school alma mater, when Fabian was a sophomore.

Fabian turned 16 at about that time and applied for a job at Dorothy Ann Bakery in Woodbury, which is run by the Conway family. Colleen manages the sales and customer service staff, which includes her former softball star and soon-to-be Gopher.

"You see a different side of each other," Fabian said of their workplace relationship. "Sometimes we'll talk softball, but she likes to leave that on the field. Friendly stuff at the bakery."

Conway increasingly got to know Fabian's personality, one of many qualities that has helped her secure a spot on the local Division I roster.

"The thing about Sydney is that she has such a great, fun, energetic personality," Conway said. "No matter what coach would hang out with her, they'd want her on her team just purely off of being a fun kid to have on the team that lots of teammates are drawn to. She's just a natural leader in that respect."

She's something of a natural on the field too. A 2012 Ms. Softball finalist, Fabian played multiple positions throughout her high school career -- pitcher, first base, shortstop and outfield. She also proved to be a potent offensive weapon for the Pioneers. Fabian hit .552 her senior season, including 10 doubles, five triples and three homers. Her 37 RBI led her team.

As a youngster, she developed her slapping and drag bunting because she didn't have the size or strength to drive the ball. That's changed the past few years as she grew, gained strength and started punishing the ball toward the gaps and even over the fences.

Combined with her speed and softball sense, "she really can do it all," Conway said. "It's pretty phenomenal that she's that versatile in the field. She's that versatile with her bat. She's also a phenomenal base runner. She steals bases, she can slide head first. I honestly cannot think of anything she's not good at."

Although good times are still had at the bakery, it won't be long before Fabian turns in her apron for a Gophers uniform. Fabian, who also played hockey for the Pioneers, strongly considered playing both softball and hockey for the University of St. Thomas. Her ultimate goal of playing Division I softball in Dinkytown won out.

"I fell in love with the campus and the people and I just made my decision right there when they asked me if I wanted to play for them," said Fabian.

The program also made big strides last season, providing another reason for excitement.

"It's awesome to see that turnaround," she said. "Maybe I can contribute next year too."

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