Sports

National champs add Decatur grad to pitching staff

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

Brad Reid's baseball life after Decatur has been a dream come true.

After suffering through two sub-.500 seasons in his junior and senior years with the Gators, Reid is finding greener pastures in the college ranks. The right-handed pitcher played an big-time role in Bellevue Community College claiming the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) championship last month and has already signed a national letter of intent to play in the fall at Oregon State University. The Beavers are coming off back-to-back NCAA titles and have played at the College World Series the last three seasons.

Winning isn't everything, but it sure is nice, Reid says.

"I was never really on a winning team. It was kind of cool being a part of that."

Reid was more than impressive during his freshman season at Bellevue Community College. The hard-thrower finished 7-1 with a miniscule 0.80 earned-run average. He gave up only 34 hits in 56 innings of work and struck out 58. Reid was named All-NWAACC and also earned all-tournament honors after leading Bellevue to the championship.

"It was a great step for me," Reid said. "It was a good system and Bellevue has very good coaching. I furthered myself quite a bit. It was a needed step for me. I furthered myself quite a bit."

His season at Bellevue did open up some eyes at the Division I level, but Reid was already on the map as one of the best pitching prospects in the Northwest while at Decatur.

Reid led the South Puget Sound League South Division in strikeouts with 71 in 54 innings of work. He also had a 3.63 earned-run average and a 4-5 record. Reid also hit .435 with 14 runs and 17 RBIs on the offensive side of the ball as a shorstop. Last summer, he went 5-1 with a 0.82 ERA and made the all-star team at the National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series while playing for one of the best select teams in the area, Chaffey out of Redmond.

Reid was drafted in the 44th round following his senior year by the Cleveland Indians. His selection was termed a draft-and-follow, which means the Indians wouldn't commit to signing him until after he played a year of junior college baseball.

But Cleveland failed to ink Reid before this year's draft, making him eligible to be drafted again by any other team.

"I got a new scout halfway through the year," Reid said. "He tried to change my windup a little bit. But that really didn't work out."

So Reid will have to "settle" for the two-time defending national champions for the next two seasons. Once a player enrolls at a four-year university, they are not draft-eligible until after their junior season.

He will join the Beavers as a sophomore in the fall.

“It’s a great program and it’s close to home, so my parents and family can come and watch games," Reid said. "They offer great facilities all those things. After talking to other schools, I think that at OSU I’ll be able to excel the most. After my visit and talking to the coaches and players, my connection with them was good and it was the perfect fit for me.”

The fit in Corvallis was perfect enough for Reid to cancel an official NCAA visit to the University of Hawaii.

"I just felt that connection," he said. "It is a college town and I like everything about being a Beaver."

Oregon State became the first team in a decade to repeat as College World Series champion, completing a dominant run through the tournament with a 9-3 victory over North Carolina last month.

The Beavers (49-18) won all five of their CWS games, including a sweep of the Tar Heels in the best-of-three finals, and trailed for only one of 45 innings they played in Omaha.

“Brad has a quick arm,” said Oregon State head coach Pat Casey. “He’s a junior college guy, so he’s going to bring some needed experience to a new staff.”

Reid will join a huge recruiting class in Corvallis this fall. The Beavers signed a total of 16 players, including 11 pitchers, and the players rank as the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation.

"I'm excited to be there," Reid said. "I'm going to be playing at the highest level."

Reid is kind of a late-comer to the baseball world. He didn't play at Decatur until his junior year because he spent much of his youth as one of the best soccer players in the area. He was a defender and played on some of the top select teams in the nation before getting the baseball bug.

"I knew after college that I would have a better chance at pursuing the sport of baseball," Reid said. "I knew I had something special for pitching and I liked it."

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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