Reed’s Leadership a Major Plus for BHS Softball Team
May 31, 2019 06:00AM
● By Pamela Johnson
BHS senior Katie Reed
written by KEN HAMWEY, Staff Sports Writer
Katie Reed, a star on and off the field, knows a thing or two about leadership. The 18-year-old senior, who’s played five varsity sports at Bellingham High, has been a captain in softball and track and is president of the National Honor Society, vice president of her class and a member of student council. Her GPA of 4.0 has earned her honors-program status at Villanova, where she plans to major in English. At graduation, on June 7, she’ll be delivering an address as the salutatorian (No. 2 in class rank).
So, it’s easy to understand why softball coach Dennis Baker labels her as “mature” when he talks about his star shortstop. “Katie has earned the respect of her teammates and also opposing players and coaches,” Baker said. “She not only is an excellent team player, but she’s also a dynamic student-athlete and a fine role model.”
The softball team, whose record was 10-3 at the Bulletin’s deadline, has already qualified for the playoffs, and it’s Reed’s stellar play in the infield and at the plate that has been a major factor for the Blackhawks. Reed’s single in the seventh inning with the bases loaded against Millis enabled BHS to qualify for the tourney.
“Katie accepts challenges, she’s mentally tough and she’s consistent,” Baker added. She has all-round ability on offense and defense and she’s committed to softball.” As a Tri Valley League all-star last year, Reed hit .345 and led the team in RBIs (19) and runs scored (23). This season, she’s hitting .538 and has one home run and 14 RBIs.
A four-year varsity competitor in softball, Reed is a captain who leads by example, but she’s also vocal and supportive. “It’s very important to be supportive and to see my teammates succeed,” Reed said. “I enjoy a leadership role and being able to make an impact.”
Reed’s efforts in Bellingham’s first clash against Norton this season was a stunning example of the kind of impact she makes. BHS won, 7-6, and snapped a two-game losing streak. “I was in a slump at the plate, but I managed to get a single and double and drive in a run,” she recalled.
“In my four years, we’ve never beaten Norton. I’d like to think that my hitting became contagious for my teammates. I also had a good day at shortstop, handling many chances.”
Before the season started, Reed’s goals were to qualify for the tourney and to win the TVL Small Division championship. She has secured a tourney berth, and winning the division crown is very possible. “Advancing deep in the tourney is realistic,” she said. “We’ve got the talent and the chemistry. If we stay focused and keep working hard, a Sectional title and possibly the States are within sight. As for individual goals, I want to hit over .300, keep my fielding percentage high and become a league all-star again.”
Reed has a variety of strengths that make her a candidate for all-star status again. She’s athletic, has a high softball IQ, is a top-notch fielder with superb arm strength and is resilient. She can be patient or aggressive at the plate and she’s able to adjust. Most important, however, is her desire for her teammates to succeed.
Three players Reed admires for their contributions and leadership are senior captains Maddie Mantegani (centerfielder) and Kellie Morrison (second base) and junior pitcher Kasey MacGowan. “Maddie is reliable, strong on defense and she’s got a great arm,” Reed said. “Kellie is a calming influence who also is solid defensively, and Kasey has a good assortment of pitches and her control is excellent.”
Reed also is quick to mention Baker for much of the Blackhawks’ success. “He’s a terrific motivator,” she noted. “He knows the game and he offers advice and constructive criticism so that players can be successful.”
Softball is the only sport where Reed has competed for four varsity seasons. She played a year of basketball, two seasons of cross-country and field hockey and three campaigns in track. Softball, however, is her favorite, probably because she’s played it since first grade. Reed has also played club softball for five years, and that has no doubt contributed to her arm strength and smooth style in the field.
“There’s some pressure that goes with playing shortstop, but it is exciting,” she noted. “The key is to react quickly, be communicative and dive for ground balls.”
The youngest of three children, Reed credits her older sister, Nicki; her older brother, John; and her father, Michael, as positive athletic influences. “As a younger kid I went to all their games, and my dad, who played baseball at BHS and at Princeton, has been a big influence,” she said. “He’s stressed the importance of leadership and caring for others.”
Relying on a competitive philosophy that puts a priority on winning, Reed also focuses on reaching her potential and enjoying her athletic endeavors. “Victory will follow if the other aspects are in play,” she said. “Sports also teach real-life lessons. I’ve sharpened my leadership skills, thanks to sports, and I’ve learned how to be resilient, accountable and compassionate, especially when a teammate is having a difficult time.”
As her BHS career heads for the finish line, Reed knows it’s a bittersweet time. Fond memories will remain, but she’s acutely aware that her future will present new chapters. “It’ll be sad to leave all my friends and the great atmosphere of high school,” she said, “but I’m excited about the challenges ahead in college.”
A successful tournament run would be a fitting way for Katie Reed to finish her athletic days at BHS because she’s been a dynamic team player and a fabulous ambassador for Bellingham High— on and off the field.