'Ray' of hope hard to miss at Estancia

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Junior has grown up quickly, both on and off the softball field for the Eagles.

May 04, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Kevin Chang | Daily…)

There is a definite home-field advantage for Estancia High junior Rachelle Reynolds in softball.

The Eagles moved varsity fields this year. They now play their games closer to Jim Scott Stadium, right next to the school weight room.

More people can see the Eagles' games now. One of them is Rachelle's mother, Raquel. Her father, Steven, is able to drive the family van all the way up to right behind the backstop.

It's special for Rachelle Reynolds, who everyone knows as "Ray," to have her mother in attendance. Usually she watches the game from the van.

"When she comes I always feel like I have to hit a home run for her, so I can show her how much it means to me that she's here," Ray said. "She likes to sleep during the day a lot, so I'm just glad she gets all the energy up to come and watch my games."


It's more of a privilege than one might think. In many ways life has been difficult for the Reynolds family. Raquel had a stroke when Ray was younger and has used a wheelchair. Ray said her mother, who has diabetes, goes to dialysis three times a week. She needs to wear an ostomy bag on her stomach to collect waste.

It has not gotten easier. Ray said her mother had both of her legs amputated last summer. In a couple of weeks, Raquel will need to get her middle finger amputated as well, due to lack of blood flow.

"She got gangrene in her legs because she has diabetes," Ray Reynolds said. "That was a pretty hard time. I missed a lot of softball for that … She came pretty close to passing away."

During the day, while Ray is at school, Steven cares for his wife. When he goes to work at a printing company around midnight, it is Ray's turn to care for her mother until her father returns at 7:30 a.m.

"I sleep with my mom," Ray Reynolds said. "If she needs me, she'll just wake me up, because I'm right next to her. She doesn't really sleep through the night a lot. She's always in pain, either because of her legs or her finger."

Estancia Coach Marcus Franco said Ray has had to mature fast. Softball is the easy part in her life right now.

Ray Reynolds, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, has certainly made the sport look easy for the Eagles. The first baseman, who usually bats clean-up, leads Estancia in most offensive categories. Coming into this week she had a .474 average and 26 RBIs, as well as three home runs.

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