By Tia Lynn Ivey
A former Morgan County high school student Reign Williams, will live out her dream to play softball at the college-level after being offered a full scholarship to Georgia Southern University, a NCAA Division 1 School.
“As soon as I began playing I was hooked,” said Reign, who lives in Morgan County. “From my first travel game on I knew I wanted to play at the next level. I’m so blessed that the coaches at Georgia Southern are giving me this opportunity to fulfill my dreams.”
The opportunity is a coveted one, as only 1.7 percent of high school athletes earn a spot to play at a NCAA Division 1 School.
“This is a huge accomplishment and I could not be more proud of her!” said Jackie Williams, Reign’s mother.
Reign’s dream-come-true arrives on the heels of real-life hard work.
Reign’s athletic journey began when she was just seven-years-old while playing little league. At age 10, she began playing travel ball, inspired by her sister Gracie Williams, who first took a swing at softball.
Reign’s mother had originally hoped her daughter would take interest in a more “girly” hobby, but was soon convinced of Reign’s remarkable talent.
“I remember when she first starting to play, all I could think was ‘why can’t my child love ballet so I can doll her up?” joked her mother Jackie Williams. But it didn’t take long for Reign’s parents, Jackie and Shane Williams, to realize they had a future star on their hands. “As she began to play, I began to fall in love with watching her play softball. Then I grew to love the game myself. Reign could make these difficult plays and catches that were literally impossible!” explained Jackie.
The coach from Georgia Southern had his eye on Reign since she was in eighth grade. Reign also played with the Morgan County High School Lady Dogs during her freshman and sophomore years. Reign transferred to George Walton Academy for junior and senior year, where she played softball as a catcher. All the while, she continued playing travel ball all over the country.
At heart, Reign is a catcher, but she also plays impressively on third base and as a shortstop.
“She excels wherever she is on and off the field,” said Jackie of Reign’s abilities and character.
During her high school softball career, she earned numerous notable achievements. While playing at Morgan County High School, she and the team made it to the Sweet 16 Competition during her freshman and sophomore years. In freshman year, Reign earned an “All-Region Honorable Mention” and made it to the 1st Team All-Region during her sophomore year. With her team at George Walton Academy, they made it to the Final Four during her junior year and to the Elite 8 during her senior year. Reign made it to the 1st Team All Region and 2nd Team All-State during her junior year and made it to the First Team All-Region during her senior year.
Anyone who watched Reign play over the years knew it was only a matter of time before she’d be offered a softball scholarship at a top school.
Her coach at Morgan County High School was thrilled to learn of Reign’s bright future at Georgia Southern University.
“Reign Williams is one of a kind. Her desire to push beyond the normal expectations of others is what has always set her apart,” said Coach Jason McBay. “When a person with such drive comes around. it does two things: it makes others uneasy and then it makes them better. She is that type of friend and that type of person. She holds others to the same high standard and expects others to be the best version of themselves on and off the field. Reign is a super intelligent player and student. She uses every fiber and cell in her mind and body to will herself and teammates to win. She’s truly one of a kind. My only regret is that I only got to coach her for two seasons. She is a difference maker and will no doubt do well at Georgia Southern.”
Reign’s coach at George Walton Academy, Katherine Meeks, attributed Reign’s success with her sharp mind for the game.
“Reign is every coach’s dream. She is strong and athletic, but there’s more to her than just her physical abilities. Reign also has the mental abilities and deep understanding of the game that makes her in-game decision making a true asset,” explained Meeks. “Combine that with her love for the game, her leadership abilities, and her drive to be the best and you truly have a remarkable player. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, one of the things that is great about having Reign on your team is that you essentially have a coach on the field. She loves her teammates, loves the game, and has a deep desire to win. Georgia Southern is getting a truly special player and individual who I’m certain will be a leader on the diamond and in the classroom.”
Reign’s travel ball coach, Steven Locke with AP GOLD, has helped mold Reign into the player she is today.
“I have had the pleasure of coaching Reign for the last 5 years. I remember the first impression she made on me and the other coaches at her first tryout. She was talking and encouraging everyone on the field…and she didn’t really know any of them. That is when I realized Reign was a definite take for our team,” said Locke. “You have heard of coaches being a ‘player’s coach’, well Reign is a ‘coach’s player.’. She does everything right. She plays when and where she is asked with no questions asked. Through difficult times, she doesn’t complain, but she puts her head down and competes to overcome.
Locke remembers scouts inquiring of him about Reign’s constant positivity and drive.
“She actually passed out one time in Colorado cheering for her teammates in a big comeback win. She cares so much. She is another coach on the field. Lots of times she knows what us coaches are thinking before we do it. Honestly, she has reminded me several times of what we should do before I can realize it. It’s the intangibles that make Reign a special player and teammate. I couldn’t imagine her not being here with us throughout this crazy and sometimes difficult travel ball journey. I can truly say we probably aren’t where we are today without her. I love that kid so much and I am so proud of her realizing her dream to play Divison 1 softball. I can’t wait to see what her future holds. Whatever it is, it will be Gold!”