For Sammy Reed, signing a letter of intent to attend Kennesaw State University on a baseball scholarship was the easy part.
The hard part came last spring at Middle Georgia College, where Reed was moved from shortstop to pitcher midway through his freshman season.
Augusta Christian baseball player Sammy Reed signs to play for Kennesaw State University as his mother Kim Reed (from left), former coach Pete Meadows, brother Brad Reed and father Everett Reed watch.
11/26/01 Mike Howell NEWS-TIMES
Photo by Mike Howell
"I had to grow up a lot when they told me I wasn't going to play shortstop," the former Augusta Christian Schools standout said. "The major adjustment was going from position player to pitcher. Kennesaw signed me as a pitcher, and now I can just focus on pitching."
Reed turned down offers from Division I programs to sign with the Owls, a perennial power in Division II. After last week's signing ceremony, Reed explained that Kennesaw was the best place to reach his potential.
"They're going to push you because they expect the best; that's what I like," Reed said. "Give it all you've got when you're on the field - that's what Kennesaw looks for and they don't accept anything less."
Reed will finish his sophomore season at Middle Georgia next spring before joining Kennesaw State, where he will continue a family tradition - Sammy's older brother, Brad, completed his college career earlier this year with the Owls.
Brad set a high standard - in two years at Kennesaw, the right-handed relief pitcher posted a 20-1 record, including a 14-1 mark during an All-American senior campaign.
"I'm Brad Reed's little brother - that's how everybody knows me up there," Sammy said. "I'm going to be Sammy Reed and pitch the way I pitch. It's too hard to fill his shoes; I can't do it and he doesn't want me to. He wants me to make my own name, and that's what I'm trying to do."
Sammy has successfully followed in his brother's footsteps before. In 1996, Brad pitched Augusta Christian to a state title - Sammy did the same in 1999. After high school, Brad signed with Middle Georgia - so did Sammy.
When Middle Georgia moved him to the mound, Sammy struggled in a relief role, but eventually proved himself as a starter. He earned the victory when the Warriors beat Volunteer State to capture the Junior College Regional championship and advance to the JUCO World Series.
According to one close observer, there's no reason to doubt Sammy won't rise to the challenge again.
"It's going to be hard for him to make a name for himself, but I don't think he'll have any trouble," Brad said after seeing his brother sign. "His style fits perfectly in that conference, so I think he's going to do great."
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