06/06/07 — Reinhard-Lee signing with Mount Olive College

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Reinhard-Lee signing with Mount Olive College

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 6, 2007 1:51 PM

When listening to Aubrey Reinhard and Jazzmine Lee discuss their college options, they almost sounded like twins when describing the opportunity Mount Olive College presented them.

The two softball standouts desired a "family" environment and seemed pleased with the student-to-teacher ratio at the NCAA Division II school. Each player liked the academic curriculum and, ironically, each plans to obtain a degree with a chemistry-based background.

And, not surprisingly, each hopes to earn some playing time during their freshman season.

"Both young ladies fit the mold we are continuously trying to build here in the softball program, which is a talented student-athlete," said MOC head coach Jaime Kylis-Higginbotham, who signed both players to national letters-of-intent.

"Both of them have done a great job in the classroom, come from a solid family base and have great support. With losing a big class of seniors, I am looking for this freshman class to step up immediately and meet the challenges in front of them head-on."

Reinhard, the 17-year-old daughter of Deik and Sharon Reinhard, is the second Rosewood High player to sign a softball NLI this year. Teammate Courtney Hill signed with Division II member UNC Pembroke in the fall.

A four-year varsity starter, Reinhard batted .368 and helped lead the Eagles to the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A playoffs. She received all-Carolina Conference honors and shared co-most valuable player accolades with Hill.

Lee, the 18-year-old daughter of Kesiha Griffith of Saulston, is the third Charles B. Aycock player to sign this spring. Teammates Rusti Talton (Pitt Community College) and Jasmine Dobbin (St. Andrews) made earlier commitments to their respective schools.

A constant in the Golden Falcon lineup, Lee committed just one error in 20-plus games this season and helped Aycock claim its fifth consecutive Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference crown. Lee batted .292 for her career and finished with an on-base percentage of .405.

"With the addition of Lee to our outfield, I have no doubt that she will fill a pair of the big empty shoes that were left by our two seniors (Erin) Wilson and (Tiffanie) Pittman," said Kylis-Higginbotham. "She has great speed, great knowledge of the game as well as a very impressive offensive game.

"I will also look for her to be aggressive on the bases ... one of the strongest attributes she will bring to us. We are looking for Reinhard to bring some offensive help to us this season. She has a big swing and I hope that she can help us out with the long ball this season."

Mount Olive notched a program-best 39 wins and earned a share of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference regular-season championship in 2007. The Trojans ended up third in the CVAC tournament.

Seven seniors graduated from that team two weeks ago.

Reinhard and Lee realize a challenge awaits them. Kylis-Higginbotham and assistant Brittany Bennett have designed a summer workout program that they expect the two signees to follow.

In fact, Bennett told Reinhard that each newcomer will be broken down and rebuilt to fit the team's needs.

"That was very intimidating," said Reinhard. "But the more I think about it, the more I get excited about it. I need to get into the best possible shape ... push myself to where I should be.

"It's definitely going to be different, but different is good."

Lee has been bothered by tendonitis in both of her knees since volleyball season. She's played through the discomfort and is looking forward to working with the MOC athletic trainers.

"I have been working out some ... running and lifting weights," said Lee, an honor graduate and member of the National Honor Society. "I'm just excited that I'm getting a chance to play at the next level. I'm going to try hard to earn a spot.

"I'm anxious to get started."