Athlete of the week: Hamilton Southeastern senior third baseman develops into a clutch leader


With 12 seniors, Hamilton Southeastern High School softball coach Emily Pusti told her players they all don’t have to be leaders.

But Pusti said Royals senior third baseman Reese Garland certainly has emerged.

“She works really hard to be a leader,” Pusti said. “She does that on and off the field, putting in the extra work.”

In games played through May 20, Garland had a .417 batting average with a team-high .507 on-base percentage. She had three home runs with a team-high 19 runs batted in. She hit .321 as a junior.

Pusti said the RBI total shows she has been a clutch leader.

“When girls have been on base, she is very (good) about putting the ball in play just enough to get them moving and that’s been a big positive for us,” Pusti said.

Garland started the season hitting in the No. 4 or 5 slot but has moved into the third slot.

“Reese is one of the strongest girls on the team. She puts in a lot of work in our strength and conditioning class,” Pusti said. “She puts in the work during school and we have our strength coach work with us in the offseason. She puts in a lot of work in the weight room.”

Garland, who can also play catcher when needed, said the mental game has been her biggest improvement this season.

“In the past, it was easier to get down on myself, but this season I’ve worked on brushing off the mistakes and just staying positive out there,” Garland said. “We have 20 girls on the team and every single girl is strong and talented. I know we have what it takes to get far this year.”

Garland said she made the decision last year to not play softball in college. She will attend the University of Cincinnati this fall and then plans to enroll in law school.

“I definitely think softball will be a part of my life, hopefully, playing intramural or club in college,” Garland said. “I want to get back in it any way I can because I love it.”

Garland started playing softball in kindergarten.

“When I was little, I played everything but fell in love with softball,” said Garland, who played basketball until high school before concentrating on softball.

Garland, who played travel softball for Red Storm, said she met her best friends through softball.

“We have 12 seniors this year and I grew up playing with all of them,” she said. “Being able to have so much fun with all of them while playing a sport I love has kept me playing all these years.”

AA ATHLETE OF THE WEEK 0528 head shot

Favorite athlete: HSE senior shortstop Lani Myrick

Favorite subject: Math

Favorite TV show: “Suits”

Favorite genre of music: Country