By Rob Kiser
When Piqua High School senior Rayna Brownlee heard Edison was bringing back softball next year, her college choice was an easy one.
Edison State coach Dan Cain just made it that much easier.
“As soon as Dan (Cain) called , I knew that was where I wanted to play,” Brownlee said. “I have never played for him, but my cousin did. So, I knew all about him and I know he is a good coach.”
The daughter of Jeff and Betty Brownlee made it official in the PHS commons Thursday and no one was more excited than Cain.
“I am really happy to get Rayna (Brownlee),” Cain said. “She is a really versatile player. She can play catcher, first base, shortstop. She just understands the game. She is kind of like a basketball player who has that court awareness, wherever they are on the floor.”
There is another reason Cain was happy to get Brownlee.
“So far, she is our only player from Miami County,” Cain said. “It would be great to have some more kids see this and decide they want to go across the street and play for Edison. State”
While, Brownlee is normally a catcher, she stepped up to play first base last season. Not only did she fill a big hole, she had a breakout season at the plate and was solid on defense.
She helped Piqua to a 21-6 record and a share of the conference title.
Brownlee batted .269 with a.355 on-base percentage.
She had four doubles among her 18 hits and and also had 16 RBIs and was named special mention All-GWOC North.
“Rayna (Brownlee) just continues to get better,” Piqua coach Rick Claprood said. “She has a lot of upside.”
“I think she has a lot of upside,” he said. “She pretty much has planned what she wants to do (in life) and Edison has all the courses that she needs.”
This season, Brownlee is back behind the plate and is batting .367, with a .415 on-base percentage.
She has a double and triple among her 22 hits and has 12 RBIs.
“Rayna has really improved as a hitter this season,” Claprood said. “And she just continues to get better.”
Cain saw her last year, when he coached Troy who shared the GWOC North title with Piqua and Greenville.
“I saw her play first base last year,” he said. “She gives us two really good catchers. I am excited about what she can do for us.”
Brownlee has always had a love of the game.
“Every since I was a little girl playing PYBSA,” Brownlee said. “I just love the competition and excitement of the game. I think it is really cool to be the only player from Miami County on the first time Edison is bringing back (for softball). I have a lot of friends on the team, so it is going to be a lot of fun.”
And an easy decision.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.