Skowhegan’s Sydney Reed trots around the bases after hitting a homer against Scarborough in the Class A state championship game Saturday at Brewer High School. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

BREWER — On Saturday, across Maine, a lot of dads watched their daughters and sons compete in their final high school game. In Augusta, Bangor, Brewer, Portland and Standish, high school softball, baseball and lacrosse teams played state championship games and put an end to the 2018-19 high school sports season.

At Brewer’s Coffin Field, Ken Reed was one of those dads. His daughter, Sydney Reed, was playing her final game as the starting catcher for the Skowhegan Area High School softball team. A four-year career as the starter behind the plate for Skowhegan was coming to an end.

Ken never got nervous watching Sydney compete in anything. Now, with the expiration date on Sydney’s career a couple hours away, Ken was getting antsy waiting for the Class A state championship game against Scarborough High School to begin.

“The last game down at Colby (Wednesday’s Class A North championship win over Oxford Hills), I can’t remember being nervous, ever, but I was nervous the whole game,” Ken said. “I’ll be nervous today, too.

“This is a tough day, because you know it’s the end.”

Ken was a catcher who played in some pretty big games himself. He was a catcher for the University of Southern Maine baseball team when the Huskies won their second national championship in 1997. That doesn’t mean Sydney’s position was predestined. When she started playing travel softball, Sydney just sort of naturally gravitated to catcher, Ken said.

He deflects credit for his daughter’s success. He points at Skowhegan assistant coach Kim McEwen, his sister, who earned a scholarship to catch for the University of Maine softball team. If any of Sydney’s catching ability is inherited, it comes from the part of the family that produced Kim, Ken said.

“That’s where all of Sydney’s stuff comes from. She listens to (Kim) more than me,” Ken said. “You ever see the movie ‘Twins?'”

In “Twins,” Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito play long-lost twin brothers. Ken and Kim aren’t twins, but his point is made.

“She’s Arnold Schwarzenegger. She got the brains. She got the athletic ability,” Ken said of his sister. “I got what was left over.”

He must’ve been able to do something, though, because USM baseball coach Ed Flaherty does not suffer fools. Whatever baseball glory Reed enjoyed, he said he doesn’t bore his children with tales of his glory days.

“We don’t talk about me,” Ken said. ”

In the top of the third inning, Sydney makes a perfect throw to second base, nailing Scarborough’s Caylinn Gendreau trying to steal the bag to end the inning. Surely that’s a little of Ken’s influence?

“That’s all Kim,” he said.

In the bottom of third inning, Sydney comes to bat with one out. She drives a ball hard to right center field, and it doesn’t so much clear the fence as much as it speeds past like a driver speeding past slower traffic on the highway. It’s gone in a hurry. In the top row of bleachers down the Coffin Field third base line, Ken stands and cheers, arms bent in front of him in an exuberant double fist pump.

“That was her first one (of the season),” Ken said. “Good time to hit it. Too bad there wasn’t anybody on.”

Sydney hits a single to left center field in the bottom of the fifth inning, and takes second base on a Scarborough error, but that’s her final high school at-bat. Sydney is on deck when Scarborough closes the game with an 11-1 win.

As the teams line up to shake hands and begin the awards ceremony, Ken isn’t concerned about how Sydney will take the loss. She’s even-keeled, he said.

“Me, this one will be the hardest,” he said.

Then, Ken let out a deep sigh.

“Awww, man,” he said.

As runner-up, Skowhegan went first in the postgame ceremony. With the introduction of each player, Ken clapped with enthusiasm. When the public address announcer got to Sydney, Ken put his head down, and clapped a little longer.


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