Sami Reynolds Finds Perfect Fit At Washington
At the age of eight, Sami Reynolds started to attend softball camps at the University of Washington. As a result, the Snohomish, Wash. native, which is about 30 miles north of the Seattle-based campus, has gotten to know her head coach Heather Tarr quite well through the years.
“I’ve been inspired by her (and) I’ve been intimidated by her ever since I was a young kid,” Reynolds told Softball America over the phone. “Being able to see her through the years in different camps and such, I think it has opened my eyes to how awesome of a person she is.
“She builds players that are comfortable competing. She is so incredible in how she runs the program and how she does player development. There’s a lot of credit to be given to her and her ability to trust us as individuals and (see) the big picture at the same time.”
From the start, Reynolds loved that Tarr understood each part of her personality, and how she is able to do that with every player she coaches. A lot of the time, the Husky outfielder wants someone in her face to bring energy to help pick her up, but Tarr has known how to address the times when that type of approach isn’t needed.
For Reynolds, who always wanted to go to her backyard school, the coaching fit made the decision even easier.
“Why wouldn’t you want to go to Washington?” Reynolds joked. “I’ve always felt so comfortable here.”
Tarr has also built a program that allows former Huskies to come back and give advice to the current team. Morgan Stuart and Danielle Lawrie have made an impact on Reynolds, but the wisdom that Dena Tyson brings sticks with her.
“She just had a conversation with us about challenging ourselves mentally to give everything we have for the four years that we have here,” Reynolds said. “She has really inspired me as a person, too. Just to put everything aside and ask yourself, ‘How good can you get? How hard can you work to become what you want to become?’ She really threw me a new perspective on how I am responsible for my own personal hard work.”
As a third-year player, Reynolds’ maturity about and around the game has really expanded her thinking. In the 2021 season, she doesn’t want her takeaways to be simply black and white, individual and team success or failure. Instead, Reynolds wants to better understand how the game can teach her lessons by itself, and how to use that in her future seasons.
That thoughtfulness shouldn’t surprise anyone. There’s a reason why she's produced since she came into the program. Her improvements at the plate were there during the shortened 2020 season. She’s become a staple in the heart of Washington’s lineup in 2021. And as represented by her highlight catch with the game on the line back in 2019 in the Women’s College World Series semifinals, no moment is too big for her.
“When you come into the program, the standards are so high. The goal is always to get to the last game played in Oklahoma City,” Reynolds said. “The second you step foot on our campus, it’s go time. It’s time to compete. It’s time to get as good as we can. That way, come June, we’re ready to push limits.”