DECATUR – University of Toledo softball opponents will have double trouble in the coming years.
Meigs County senior softball player Arika Reed will be joining her sister Aubrey at Toledo after signing on Wednesday.
Reed actually committed as a sophomore and has held firm since.
“I chose Toledo because I really love the campus and the atmosphere up there. I’ve always been very close to my sister and my sister is up there and she absolutely loves the school and the softball program. That really made me feel good about my choice in choosing Toledo.”
Reed has won two state titles, one as a center fielder and one as a third baseman. Meigs Coach Jeff Davis hopes to move her back to center field this year. Davis said Reed is a versatile player who can do almost anything on the softball field. Reed hit .606 last year with 33 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.
“She’s a coach’s dream,” Davis said. “She can play about any position on the field. Her freshman year she was our starting center fielder and we won a state championship. The next two years she was the starting third baseman and we won a state championship. Hopefully this year we can put her back in center field because that is her natural position and I think we will be able to do that.”
Davis would like to move her off the lead-off spot in the batting order, but feels she’s too valuable to the team hitting where she is.
“She’s at the top of the (batting) order,” Davis said. “She hits for average, she hits for power, she drives in runs, she runs like a deer. You’d love to have her hit third, but she’s too good a lead-off hitter to move down to third. She’s got it all, defense and speed. She’s started since the first day she’s been here.”
Davis added that while going to any college softball program can be difficult at first, he believes Reed will make a smooth adjustment to the college level both because of her sister and her playing experiences.
“It’s always going to be a big transition going from high school softball to a division I program,” Davis said. “But she’s played in top level summer league her whole life so she’s not going to be overwhelmed by it. It will be easier for her than for some. She’s got her sister up there and she's watched her play so she’s got a good idea (of what to expect). She won’t go up there wide-eyed because I’m sure her sister has told her how it will be.”
While she is one of Meigs County’s top players on the field, Davis said she is also a star in the classroom and off the field.
“She is a great kid,” Davis said. “She’s a top five or top 10 in her class, if not at the top – they haven't announced that yet – but she is a straight A students and always has been. She never gives you any trouble and is a team leader. She’s a great kid and comes from a great family.”
Reed said her time at Meigs has passed by quickly, but she has enjoyed her time as a Lady Tiger and is looking forward to her senior year.
“I love Meigs County,” Reed said. “It’s such a small community and it's really built around our sports here. Everybody is supportive. I will never forget the two years at state and the number of fans we had come out and support us. Not only softball, but in every sport. They are always there.
“It’s really flown by, I still feel like a freshman in high school and should still be playing with my sister,” Reed continued. “It just feels like high school has flown by for me, but I’m ready to take that next step in my future.”
That future lies in Ohio with her sister. Having Aubrey there and former travel ball teammate Taylor Weekly will help her make the adjustment to college, both on and off the field. But it will be a change.
“Whenever you come out of a small community like this to a big university everybody is good,” Reed said. “It’s just getting used to that sort of atmosphere where everybody is the same level as you. And probably the cold weather. Aubrey said it snows during games so getting used to that will take getting used to.”
But before she goes to Toledo, Reed has one more year of high school softball and she believes the Lady Tigers can have a good year. Meigs had won three straight state titles, but was eliminated in the district tournament last year.
Reed believes this year will be better.
“I think we will be pretty good,” Reed said. “We had a pretty good run at the end of last year as we got comfortable together. I think if we start out comfortable with each other I hope we will get a better jump than we did last year.”
She will then join her sister up north to begin the next stage of her softball career.
“It’s just exciting to think I get to play softball for four more years,” Reed said. “This (signing) is just setting it in stone so I’m really excited. I know that I’m very lucky to get to continue my career.”
Reed, who will major in wildlife biology, is the daughter of Amanda and Eric Reed.