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Clutch Cohen will be missed at Reed
by Aaron Retherford
Jun 02, 2009 | 1764 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne - Chelsea Cohen earned eight varsity letters in softball and volleyball combined at Reed and will take her softball skills to the University of Arkansas next year.
Tribune/John Byrne - Chelsea Cohen earned eight varsity letters in softball and volleyball combined at Reed and will take her softball skills to the University of Arkansas next year.
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With one swing of the bat in the bottom of the eighth inning, Reed senior Chelsea Cohen rescued her team from the jaws of defeat and gave the Raiders softball program its first regional championship since 2002.

As someone who was voted the High Desert League's top pitcher this year and has never been less than a first team all-league pitcher, there's no arguing Chelsea Cohen meant a lot to Reed softball's success this year, let alone the past four years.

She was also pretty solid at the net for the Raiders' volleyball team this year, earning second team all-league.

That is why Cohen was named the Sparks Tribune's Female Athlete of the Year.

However, she's been pivotal to Reed's improvement from year to year ever since she donned the Blue and Gold her freshman year.

"She's been a pleasure to coach. She's a good kid, really athletic. She's been through a lot with injuries to get where she is," Reed softball coach Ray Charles said. "Every time we gave her the ball, we believed we had a chance to win. We've won a lot of games the past two years and a lot of that is because of her. We will miss her around here definitely."

As a freshman, she provided another strong arm to give the Raiders a 1-2 punch with ace Kelsey Hawley. Cohen was so impressive as the team's No. 2 pitcher, she earned first team all-league honors after going 10-6 with a 1.56 ERA. In just 99 innings of work, she had 120 strikeouts. Cohen completed 11 of her 15 starts and even picked up a save.

She only got better when she took over the role as the team's No. 1 hurler.

In the past three springs, Cohen was 45-13 and her worst ERA was a 1.08 despite going 19-2, and her best was a 0.87 during her junior year. She earned first team all-league three times and followed that up with co-Pitcher of the Year honors in her final season.

The right-hander finished with 26 shutouts and 564 strikeouts in 461 innings pitched.

Cohen was slowed by a back injury in her sophomore season and an ankle injury as a junior, which limited her appearances in the circle. She finally avoided the injury bug this year.

But even though she was not relied upon as heavily this year in the circle with the emergence of sophomore Destinee Levesque and junior Kristy Pasley, Cohen's bat has always been invaluable.

In her high school career, she had 143 hits in 400 at-bats for a .357 batting average. Forty-six of those hits went for extra bases, including 21 home runs. Cohen drove in 103 RBIs and scored 98 runs.

Besides sports, Cohen participated in leadership and a mentor program at Reed High.

Cohen got a late start in volleyball, beginning in seventh grade. Her natural athleticism allowed her to excel on the court, taking home second team all-league this season as an outside hitter and playing four years of varsity volleyball.

"Playing volleyball for four years here was a lot of fun," Cohen said. "Coach (Paul) Lenae and coach Kris (Flagtvedt) taught me a lot about it. The girls on all four teams were really nice to me, and it was just another group of girls I could rely on."

But her passion is truly softball and that's what will take her to the University of Arkansas next year. Cohen said when she visited Arkansas, it just felt right. She is interested in the interior design program.

Cohen will have her hands full though. The Southeastern Conference is a young conference in terms of softball, but proved this year that it's a conference that should no longer be ignored after three of the final four teams at the College Softball World Series came from the SEC.

Cohen will pitch for the Razorbacks, which means she will face the likes of high-powered offenses from Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

"I'm really excited but at the same time I'm really nervous because it's a huge conference," Cohen said. "Everyone in the conference is a step above, and I just know I'm going to have to work that much harder to play at that level."

Charles, who just finished his 11th year coaching Reed softball, is looking forward to seeing a former player get a chance to perform on a larger scale.

"As far as her going to school, I'm excited for her and to see what she's going to do," Charles said. Obviously to see someone play in the SEC is exciting for our program and just to watch her grow as a person."

Cohen credits Charles for helping her get ready for the next step in her softball career and she won't forget the bonds she formed while at RHS.

"Ray taught me leadership and how to be mentally strong. He really helped me stay focused, and obviously I can rely on him as a coach and friend," Cohen said. "This team and the friendships we formed on the team. We really were more than a team. We were like a family. Just thank you to Ray and everything he's done for me since I was a freshman. And all the girls I've played with, I love them all."
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Your Paradise Fan
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June 03, 2009
So proud of you, you have worked really hard.
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