Martin catcher Olivia Reams tries to take the same approach each time she steps to the plate. The junior’s steady mindset helps her hit for power without pressing. Her big swings have helped the Lady Warriors stay near the top of the 4-6A standings.
“I just go up there just ready to do what I need to do. I don’t think too much when I’m up there,” Reams said. “I just lay back and I just see the ball. I don’t try to hit it over.”
But she does hit it over the fence with regularity. Through March 22, Reams had smacked eight home runs, including one game-winning grand slam.
She’s also had a four-homer day. That long-ball fest came March 14 when the Lady Warriors played a doubleheader against district opponents Bowie and Weatherford. Reams swatted two homers in each game.
“I let my bat do the work. I’ve always been pretty much a power hitter,” Reams said. “I’ve had a similar swing. I’ve made a tweak here and tweak there, but it’s been a pretty consistent swing.”
So what did she did special on that four-homer day? Nothing out of her regular routine. “I did what I normally do,” Reams said. “There are days when you’re just feeling it. On [March 14], I was like ‘All right’ after I hit the first one. Then I had another one. I thought, ‘All right. Let’s keep going. Let’s get some more today.’ ”
She wasn’t done hitting long balls that week. Reams walloped another home run two days later against Fort Worth Paschal. “I think I was just really seeing it and everything came together,” Reams said.
Martin first-year coach Rachel Riley said Reams thrives on not trying to do too much at the plate — only what the situation calls for. “She makes solid contact and when she does, there’s no second guessing that it’s gone,” Riley said. “We’ve talked about from Day One on offense, everyone has a job to do.”
Reams doesn’t try to do more than the situation calls for, but sometimes it happens anyway. “If there’s a runner on second, bring her in,” Reams said. “If it goes over [the fence], it’s more than I bargained for.”
Reams gets pumped by pummeling pitches with her bat, but her most hyped moment comes from her duties as catcher, especially when she guns down an opponent’s base runner.
“Throwing out a runner is pretty cool,” Reams said. “Normally you can tell coming out of your hand. You know it’s a good throw. And it gets there and it’s just, ‘Yes!’ ”
Reams’ longtime battery mate — and fellow Arkansas Tech recruit — Lacey Mann is out with a knee injury. In the junior’s absence a young pitching staff featuring several freshmen has had to step up.
Riley is in awe of Reams’ work with the young hurlers. Reams calls the pitches during the game. And outside of game days, the catcher works closely with the pitchers, giving them pointers and helping them improve.
“She’s been great for them,” Riley said. “And she calls a great game.”
Reams doesn’t take much credit for her leadership skills. But Reams, who has been on varsity with Mann since their freshman year, tries to remember the positive lessons she learned from the upperclassmen when she was starting out on varsity.
“I try to think back to when I was a freshman,” Reams said. “ ‘All right, what did they do that impacted me that I really liked?’ They know what they’re doing. They’ve been playing for a long time.”
The Martin girls defeated Abilene 4-0 last week in their bi-district playoff game. The Lady Warriors advance to face El Paso El Dorado this week in the area round; time and location were unknown at the press deadline.
Lamar’s girls needed a shootout but defeated Midland 5-4 to advance to the area round. They’ll face El Paso Franklin at a time and location to be announced.
Arlington’s Lady Colts were nipped 1-0 by Odessa Permian in bi-district.
Sam Houston’s boys team overcame a challenge from Odessa in bi-district, winning 2-1 last week. The Texans will face El Paso Montwood in the area round.
The Lamar boys lost in bi-district 3-0 to Midland last week.
Thursday marks the beginning of registration for indoor soccer, T-ball, modified-coach-pitch baseball and coach-pitch baseball leagues organized by the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department.
Registration fee for each league is $75, with competition beginning June 11.
Stephen English: firstname.lastname@example.org, @sbenglish74