The answer is simple.
Why could Paine College barely retire Valdosta State junior Mike Reed last weekend?
“Swing at good pitches,” Reed said Tuesday after being named the Gulf South Conference Player of the Week. “I was swinging at strikes. That’s pretty much the main gist of it.”
In the 5-0 Blazers’ three-game sweep of the Lions, Reed hit .667 with two doubles, eight RBIs and seven runs scored. He also stole a base in his only attempt.
“Mike is, I believe, one of the premier players in the Gulf South Conference,” VSU coach Greg Guilliams said. “He plays a key position at shortstop, and he hasn’t done anything that I didn’t think he was capable of doing.
“When you swing the bat like that it stands out, but I think Mike is that kind of player.”
While early, Reed is living up to Guilliams’ expectations. Hitting second in a deep lineup, Reed is batting .500 with three doubles, 10 RBIs, nine runs scored and three stolen bases.
The transfer from Jacksonville said that potent lineup that surrounds him — VSU is hitting .335 as a whole and averaging more than 12 runs per game — has definitely been beneficial as opposing pitchers have far more to worry about — like preseason all-conference leadoff hitter Matthew Fears and preseason all-conference and All-American Grant Hayman hitting third.
“They have to pitch to me, they have no choice,” Reed noted. “They walk the leadoff guy and then they have to come to me. There’s two guys that can hit bombs behind me and in front of me.”
Guilliams agreed, but didn’t think it was critical to Reed’s success.
“I think Mike would hit wherever we put him,” he said. “But having said that, I think he will get some opportunities because of who is hitting around him.
“But I think to have a good offensive team you have to be able to hit top to bottom. But I wouldn’t disagree that he’s in a good spot in the order.”
Said Reed: “We’ve got a lot of guys that can hit, and I feel like we’re pretty old and we have a lot of maturity. We’ve got a lot of guys that have been around a little while and have played a couple extra years. I feel like we’ve got a lot of guys that can really hit.”
Experience is also something Reed brings to the Blazers. The shortstop hit just .231 in eight games with the Dolphins last season, hitting one home run, one double and driving in three runs, scoring six more. That comes after a freshman season at Auburn that included just four games.
While on his third team in three years, Reed said those different environments have helped him develop too. But so has the cameraderie he has received since joining the Blazers.
“I enjoy meeting new people and stuff,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of good guys on this team and they’ve got a lot of knowledge that maybe I had never heard of. So it’s always good to share information with each other.”
The answer is simple.
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Milestones on tap for upcoming season
Some milestones are destined to occur, like when Georgia Christian hosts David Emanuel on Aug. 22 in the Generals’ first varsity football game since the late 1960s.
Others will have to wait and see what continues to take shape come Friday when teams can begin fall practice, and especially Aug. 1 when teams can suit up in pads for the first time, such as can Valdosta win its record 24th state title, or can Lowndes capture its fourth state championship under Randy McPherson, or can Valwood and coach Ashley Henderson play in its third straight GISA state championship game?
As we start to find out the answers to those questions in just a few short weeks — the regular season is just 31 days away — there should be a few more milestones for area coaches to mark 2014 right along with the Generals getting back on the gridiron.
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Anthony Smith ready for new test in college
Smith was a three-year starter as a Wildcat and quickly worked his way up as a leader on both the defense and the team as a whole.
Wildcats participate in national 7-on-7 tournament
The Valdosta High Wildcats have been working extremely hard this summer to prepare for the football season. Summer workouts and a plethora of 7-on-7 tournaments and competitions have kept the Wildcats busy.
A Different Look
With football summer workouts in full swing, occasionally the intensity and competitive drive can wane going against teammates. But on Friday, Valwood, Brookwood, Lanier County and Tiftarea Academy broke up the monotony by meeting at Goddard Field for a four-team, 7-on-7 passing league.
Berrien competes in 6-team passing camp
If Ed Pilcher had his way, Berrien High would never throw the football.
But that doesn't mean the veteran coach doesn't enjoy the opportunity that a passing league, or the six-team passing camp at Cairo on Thursday morning, can provide his Rebels.
Bubba Walker promoted to defensive coordinator
Valdosta State Linebacker Coach Bubba Walker has been promoted to fill the open posiiton of defensive coordinator for the Blazer football team according to an announcement made by VSU Head Coach David Dean Thursday.
Albritton wins NCAA Elite 89
Courtney Albritton's tremendous 2013-2014 season earned her one more award Thursday night when the Valdosta State softball star won the NCAA's Favorite Elite 89 Winner contest by securing the more votes than any other student-athlete.
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- Milestones on tap for upcoming season