Brownstown’s Reynolds picks Olney Central for softball



Like so many of her fellow high school athletes, Alli Reynolds was bummed when Indiana shut down spring sports early in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and she could not compete in her junior year of softball.

“I felt really bad for the seniors,” said Reynolds, now a senior herself at Brownstown Central High School. “Then after a couple of weeks, it was self-pity.”

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And then she pulled herself together to make the most of what was and the time she had.

“I thought, ‘This could be a blessing,’” Reynolds said Wednesday afternoon when she signed athletic commitment papers to play softball for Olney Central College, a two-year school in Illinois.

Instead of moping last spring, Reynolds went to work. She said she regularly hit off a tee, working out with her father, Brian, and then when the virus temporarily subsided, she was able to compete over most of the summer season with her travel team.

Surrounded by coaches, friends and family, Reynolds signed her name to the proper documents at the school’s trophy room just outside the gymnasium, making firm her future.

“I’m giddy,” Reynolds said of her big moment. She was on edge on all day awaiting the 3 p.m. signing ceremony time. “It was so slow. I was thinking, ‘Is it ever going to come?’ It feels very surreal.”

As a freshman for the Braves, Reynolds batted .298. As a sophomore, she hit .361. She carries a career average of .330 into her senior season.

A catcher, Reynolds has put in 195 innings behind the plate for Brownstown thus far. As a sophomore, she made just one error all that year.

Reynolds has twice been selected all-Mid-Southern Conference honorable mention.

The opportunity to play softball in college is something Reynolds has had as a goal for some time. She likes to think of herself as someone who works to improve and said she has attended offseason softball camps at such places as Peoria, Illinois, Indiana Wesleyan and Bellarmine in Kentucky.

It was about three weeks ago Reynolds made the choice to further her education at Olney. Some former teammates play for the school, and she was able to see the campus with her travel team.

“I loved it,” Reynolds said.

Those friends shipped Reynolds some Olney wardrobe items, and she, her dad and mother Sheila modeled them.

Reynolds said she has had tutoring in the finer points of catching, which have helped her improve her fielding skills, as well as putting in all the extra time swinging at the ball.

“I work very hard at and pride myself on my hitting,” Reynolds said.

The list of coaches she thanked for her development was a long one, coaches at Brownstown, coaches with her travel team, coaches at camps, coaches who gave lessons.

Presiding over the activities, in a sense, was her future coach. Nick Short is the head coach at Olney. When everyone was gathered at the scene, he unzipped a case and lifted out the paperwork, hand-delivering it to Reynolds, who after autographing it could hand it right back instead of faxing or mailing it.

Short is a coach who makes house calls, not for every player, but often enough. Olney is a two-and-a-half-hour drive straight on U.S. 50, so it wasn’t a bad trip, he said.

“That’s one of the differences between junior colleges and a lot of other schools,” Short said of his in-person appearance.

Short said he has had athletes on his team from this area, Jennings County and elsewhere.

“We’re always excited to get new kids, new blood,” he said of adding Reynolds to his roster.

Reynolds said after making up her mind to attend Olney, she became more excited herself as this commitment day approached and the Wednesday ticked by.

Sheila Reynolds said she had been just about as revved up as her daughter — until Wednesday — but said Alli definitely became more amped by the signing.

“She’s over the top,” Sheila said.

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