Bear River’s big bopper

Reina’s all smiles as she puts up big numbers for the Bruins
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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If they kept statistics for grins and giggles, Alyssa Reina would probably lead the country in those categories. As it is, you’ll find the Bear River High junior near the top of the Sac-Joaquin Section in just about every hitting category that exists. Whether she’s trotting around the bases after one of her frequent home runs – she has eight on the season – or digging a pitch out of the dirt at catcher, Reina is always wearing her smile. “It’s neat to see a kid that smiles, and is always positive,” Bear River coach Duane Zauner said. “She’s just a go-lucky, go-getter.” Zauner has seen some special players wearing the Bruin uniform in recent seasons. Courtney Ceo and Katie Mathis both landed Division I scholarships in 2010. Reina’s teammate Stephanie Ceo has committed to Texas and is batting a remarkable .578. Reina’s not far behind at .500. The two Bear River juniors have accounted for more than 90 percent of the team’s runs. But Reina’s power numbers are truly impressive. She has six doubles to go with her eight homers and she’s driven in 41 runs. “I’ve always been a power hitter,” Reina said. “Growing up my dad always taught me, ‘Bat to the ball,’ and I’ve just worked to get better. I’m always looking to go hit at the batting cage and get extra work in.” Reina credits her grandparents Frank Sr. and Kathy Reina for instilling in her a passion for softball. “They used to coach softball and they made the game really fun for me,” she said. She and her teammates had a lot of fun on Friday. Bear River rallied for a 10-7 win over Colfax, avenging a loss to the rival Falcons earlier this season. The Bruins are holding out hope for a piece of the Pioneer Valley League title, though they need a loss by league-leading Lincoln, which faces Colfax on Wednesday. The Bruins are assured of a spot in the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, where they will seek a fifth straight section title. It’s a standard that could be tough to match as Bear River’s previous titles came in Division IV. But Reina said her team is maintaining its goal. “We’re striving to keep the legacy going,” she said. “It would definitely be a disappointment not to win (the title). It would be really hard to see all that hard work go into it and not win. We’re working every day to get closer to that.” As for her own future, Reina hopes to join the growing list of Bear River stars in the college ranks. She was recently invited to On Deck Softball’s National Elite Futures Camp in June, where 64 of the top players in the country will be showcased for college coaches. Courtney Ceo, Stephanie’s older sister, is now starring at Oregon after a tremendous career with the Bruins. She left a strong impression on Reina with her work ethic and attitude. “She’s the reason I love to catch so much,” Reina said of Ceo. “She used to stay after practice with me so I could work on my throws and I just loved seeing how she thought about the game. She taught me to always move forward and keep my head up.” Reina’s ever-present grin isn’t just because of her love for softball. As a catcher, she looks to give her pitcher a lift with her energy. “I want to keep my pitcher upbeat, feeling like she’s really good and knowing that she’s in control of the game,” Reina said. “People have said I have a contagious laugh. I’m always cheering on my teammates and everyone has an inside joke, so that’s really good to keep the atmosphere positive.”