Striking out MAC teams, one by one

Reporter Chris Gates

If one word could describe junior softball pitcher Kylie Reynolds, it would be consistent.

In her first two seasons, Reynolds won back-to-back Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year awards. She registered a 1.30 ERA in her freshman season and a 1.40 ERA in her sophomore season, leading to an combined record of 39-12 in 69 games.

This season has been a bit more of a struggle for Reynolds and the Flashes, but a 4-1 start to MAC play has the Flashes back on the winning track.

Reporter Chris Gates sat down with Reynolds to talk about this season and her career.

How do you feel about the way you’ve played so far this season?

I didn’t have the start that I wanted, but I feel like I’ve improved as the year has (gone) on. (I’m) really just focusing on the MAC right now, the start of this season, because that’s what really matters.

As a team, are you pleased with how the season has gone so far?

It (is) kind of a learning year with new players on the field. We’ve progressed really well, and the hitting came around. It’s really nice to see, especially now since MAC (play) has started. As a whole, I think we’re pretty happy with how we’re doing, and we have really good team chemistry this year on and off the field.

You started 30 games last year and have started in another 18 so far this season. What allows you and other softball pitchers to throw so often while baseball players have to wait for days in between starts?

It’s a natural motion, and baseball isn’t. In softball, you can use one pitcher throughout a whole tournament. You kind of see that when, if you watch the national championship, teams really ride one girl. Once you get your endurance up, there’s really no arm problems.

Being from Georgia, what made you to decide to play softball at Kent State?

I got recruited by coach (Karen) Linder in one of my tournaments and came up here and really liked this school. I wanted to go far away from home – I didn’t really expect to go this far. I didn’t really anticipate Ohio, but it’s worked out really well for me.

How did you get into the game of softball in the first place?

I started in 12-and-under. I was actually a shortstop, which is kind of funny because I couldn’t play short for my life now. I just played a lot of sports when I was younger, and then I just stuck with softball throughout it all. I really wasn’t good at anything else.

When did you switch to playing pitcher, and what caused that change?

The second year in 12-and-under is when I started pitching. It was because the one pitcher on our team moved up to 14-and-under, so we didn’t have anybody and I just started. I just kind of stuck with it, and here I am.

You dominated your way through high school play and in your first two seasons at Kent State. With all that success, what tough stretches have you gone through?

It’s definitely a different level of play once you enter college. In high school, if you get through the top of the lineup, the end of the lineup (is) easy to just go through them. With college ball, every hitter is a good hitter. They were the No. 1 player on their high school team, too.

It’s trying to lessen the amount of mistakes with pitching, hitting my spots and stuff like that. I learned that quickly in my freshman year because I wasn’t really used to getting home runs hit off me that much. They definitely came my freshman year.

What are your expectations for the team for the rest of the season?

We’re just trying to keep the reputation that we’ve made the past couple years in the MAC – just going out there and winning the overall season (title) and winning the tournament again, traveling on to regionals. Last year we had such a dominating year, and we want to keep that.

What are your personal expectations?

Improving every year is the biggest thing for me. I have a variety of pitches this year, so I’m just trying to change things up because (opponents have) already seen me so much.

Contact principal sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].