March 20, 2011
BERKELEY - With her slender 5-4 frame, Jamia Reid can come off as a diminutive college student walking the Cal campus. But on the softball diamond, Reid is anything but unthreatening. She leads the No. 9/10 California softball team in multiple categories with a .478 batting average, 49 total bases, 24 runs scored and a .731 slugging percentage all the while boasting a 1.000 fielding percentage. Combine all of that with a deadly slap and the fact that Reid is the Golden Bears' all-time leading base stealer, and you have one potent player.
As a true freshman in 2009, Reid broke the school single-season steal record with her 29th base midway through the season and went on to grab 47 more steals, ranking her first in the Pac-10 and third in the nation per game. During a span of 33 games, from March 7 to May 9, 2009 she was not caught stealing, assuring her placement on the All-Pacific Region first team and Pac-10 All-Freshman team.
She repeated her conference-leading ways during her sophomore season, grabbing 48 bases to amass 95 career steals at the conclusion of the year, good for first place of Bears in school history. She currently has 15 to her credit in 17 attempts as of March 20.
For Reid, the art to base stealing is all about having no fear.
"Well, you definitely have to have the mentality that you are getting to the next bag," Reid noted. "There are times when I just watch the defense to see if they are on their toes. If I keep the defense on their toes, I am doing my job."
The Buena Park, Calif., native first started honing her craft as a youngster.
"When I was playing 14-and under ball, my coach told me don't think when I get on base," Reid related. "Ever since then, I don't think, I just do. I don't believe you have to be fast to be a good base runner. You just need to be aggressive and on your toes. Get off and get back. Let the defense know you are ready for anything."
Sometimes base stealing does not always look go as planned, but it definitely makes for some memorable moments.
"One of my favorite Cal softball times ever happened this year," Reid said. "I was at third and I was on my way home, and I ended up stumbling towards the plate. Thankful I was able to jump and drive forward. It was really a funny moment. All I could do was lay there and laugh at myself."
Along with stealing, smiling is one trait that her teammates always attribute to Jamia, especially when telling her apart from her twin sister and fellow Bear Elia.
"She would say that I smile all the time, but I am the more serious one," Jamia said. "She looks more serious, but she is more laid back than I am."
With Elia in right and Jamia stationed in left, the Reid twins patrol the Cal outfield. But don't think for a second that there is any completion between the two.
"There is never really any sibling rivalry," Jamia said. "We really just try to help each other get better. We always make sure to be there for one another since our parents are not around when we're up at school."
For some of the only times in their lives, Jamia played without Elia over the summer when Jamia played with the U.S. Futures National Team. Not being around her sister was an adjustment for Jamia, but she took it in stride.
"I don't think it's so much about not playing with her," Jamia said. "It's just that I like having her around. Not everyone gets to play with their twin sister in college or even have a sister. I think I just got really lucky. I am just very used to having her around me. When I went to Ohio with the Futures team towards the beginning of the summer, it was really hard. But by Oklahoma, it wasn't that bad. I figured Japan would be my last trip away. But we talked every day so it made it a little better."
The trip to Japan that Jamia is referring to is when she joined the U.S. delegation at the Japan Cup. Reid along with Bear teammate Valerie Arioto led the Americans to gold. In the 5-3 victory over Japan on Aug. 7, Reid served as a pinch runner and laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to help get a run on the board in the 10-3 smoldering of Chinese Taipei on Aug. 7.
"Going to Japan was a great experience," Reid said. "I have never been to Japan and I had a lot of fun. My roommate was Blaire Luna, from the University of Texas, and we have become very close." For Reid, family is one of the most important things in her life, which becomes abundantly clear when asked who her biggest hero is.
"My mom and dad are definitely my ultimate heroes because they have done so much for my sister and I," Reid responded. "I wouldn't know what I would do without them."
In addition to all of the support she received from her parental unit, Reid also inherited some of her mother's characteristics.
"I love going to the mall and shopping," Reid said of her hobbies outside of school and softball. "It is hard for me to go to the mall and not buy something. I guess I got that from my mother. I also like to lay in my bed and rest."
Reid's predilection for shopping aside, the mall is not the first place she would go should she win the lottery.
"I wouldn't know what to buy, I'm really big on saving," Reid said. "But if I had to buy something I would buy my sister and I two separate cars."
Until that happens, you can find Jamia and Elia rolling up to Levine-Fricke Field in their shared car. But if you aren't careful, Jamia might just steal a base before you or the defense knows it.
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