Navarro catcher John Clay Reeves is back in the World Series.
Only this year it’s the JUCO World Series and Grand Junction, Colo., and not the NCAA Division I College World Series and famed Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb. like it was in 2012.
It’s a quite a story. Reeves, from Monroe, La., was a backup catcher for the Arkansas Razorbacks this time last year, helping the Hogs beat Baylor in the Super Regionals to earn a trip to Omaha.
He decided to transfer to Navarro after the season, wanting increased playing time, and he’s stepped in and earned All-Region XIV and Eastern Conference Player of the Year honors.
Reeves, who has signed with Rice, came to Corsicana knowing he had a chance to help a sophomore-laden Bulldogs team make it to Grand Junction. And it’s happened.
“We’ve put together a great team all year,” Reeves said. “It’s great to get to that point where all of us are clicking. We’re getting to that spot where everyone wants to play well and everyone wants to play for each other.”
Reeves expected this kind of year offensively. Considered the Razorbacks “offensive catcher” as a true freshman last season, Reeves lost playing time to sophomore Jake Wise, who coaches considered the better defensive catcher. The Hogs gave up offense for defense — Wise batted only .244.
Reeves appeared in 28 games for Arkansas, 19 as a starter, and batted .281 with four RBIs in 57 at-bats. He did start two games in the Super Regional against Baylor as the Razorback stunned the Bears in an incredible three-game series in Waco.
He came to Navarro wanting to improve on those numbers and he has. He’s batting .376 in 53 games with three home runs and 38 RBIs, second to first baseman Tyler Wilson for the team lead.
And Reeves still isn’t satisfied, lamenting his power numbers, even though he played almost half of his games at pitcher-friendly Graham Field.
“I tried to hit .400 all year,” Reeves said. “I was close. I came up little short. My power numbers haven’t been quite like I wanted them to be. I’m just blessed to have the opportunity I have now.”
The key has been playing every day. At Arkansas, he just couldn’t find a rhythm.
“Last year I would play a game and wait two weeks, then play two games and sit two weeks,” Reeves said. “Getting to be in the lineup is just a blessing. You get to get a feel for what’s going on and kind of how the pitchers are going. You can get comfortable in the box and find your rhythm, which is hard to do when you’re sitting out games.”
Reeves has been just as successful handling the Bulldogs’ rotation of sophomore pitchers and a dominant bullpen. Navarro had the best team ERA in the region at 2.91 for the season.
Reeves caught top pitchers at Arkansas. Current Razorbacks junior Ryan Stanek should go in the first 10 picks of June’s Major League Entry Draft.
So coming in and handling Lukas Schiraldi, Gage Curry, Chad Young and Zach Hobbs plus closer Blake Griffin and the rest of the bullpen has been a smooth transition.
“Reeves has played a key part,” Navarro coach Whoa Dill said. “He had big time pitchers at Arkansas. He got to see first rounders. He handles the pitchers well. He calls his own game. He’s a good defender. He’s hitting .370.
“So not only is he doing one thing, he does all three of them. I’m pretty impressed watching what he does. He’s one of the best catchers we’ve had in a while. “
Reeves took it personally that he was considered an “offensive” player at Arkansas. He’s had more than a solid season defensively for the Bulldogs. He caught all four games in the regional tournament in Lufkin, taking a beating and fighting through sore knees.
He takes a lot of pride in his work as a catcher.
“Catching is more important than hitting every day of the week,” Reeves said. “An 0-for-4 day doesn’t bother me as much as not blocking balls or calling a good game.”
Navarro catcher John Clay Reeves is back in the World Series.
GC Softball: Playoff Time
There were some bumps on the road and slides in the standings and a few bruises along the way, but five Golden Circle teams have reached the softball playoffs that begin with first round games on Thursday.
For Corsicana it was a wakeup call during the second half of district play that gave the Tigers the push they needed, and for Mildred it was the culmination of yet another splendid season as the Lady Eagles made the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Blooming Grove is back again, a regular in post season play with a chance to make a run, and Hubbard begins its quest to get to the state tournament and Austin with a one-game playoff on Thursday against Itasca in Italy.
Navarro Softball: Bulldogs split with Kilgore, win final home game
Kristen Ahearn was mad, steaming.
Even her peanut butter and jelly sandwich that she ate between the doubleheader games didn't taste good. Nothing fit. Nothing was in sync. Nothing felt right or even tasted right.
Then Ahearn found the cure.
Simple enough: Just go out and blast a three-run homer.
That's the short version of what happened Tuesday at Navarro College, where Ahearn's three-run bomb ignited the Bulldogs in the second game against Kilgore and Navarro went on to win 8-5 to close out its regular season with a bang and a smile from Ahearn.
GC Baseball: Kerens beats Cayuga 5-1, wins first district title since 1981
The wait is over.
And it came just in time for Brett Anderson, who left it all on the mound Tuesday night at Kerens, where he pitched a masterpiece to lead the Bobcats over Cayuga, 5-1, and help the program win its first baseball district title since 1981.
“I've got no gas left. I'm out,'' said Anderson, a senior lefty who stopped Cayuga cold, holding the three-time defending district champs to just three singles while striking out 14.
GC Basebal Roundup: Corsicana blasts Jacksonville; BG wins huge district game
The Corsicana Tigers wrapped up district play with a dominating 9-0 win over the Jacksonville Indians behind Trevor Nolen, who shut out the Indians and allowed only one hit over 6 1/3 innings. Donovan Fields came on to retire the final two hitters. The Tiger pitchers limited the Indians to only 25 plate appearances in the game and no runner to reach third base.
Rodeo: Navarro County Derrick Days -- Burton is back
Professional rodeo entertainer Ronald Burton returns to the Navarro County Exposition Center April 25-26 to entertain the crowd at the 2014 Navarro County Derrick Days Pro Rodeo.
Huggins to call shots at Derrick Days Rodeo
West Huggins will serve as the announcer for the 2014 Navarro County Derrick Days Pro rodeo. The Gardendale native is the reigning three-time United Professional Rodeo Association Announcer of the Year.
Dill gets 300th win in Navarro baseball sweep of Bossier Parish
Navarro baseball’s weekend in Louisiana was significant on a number of fronts. On one hand, coach Whoa Dill notched his 300th win. On the other, and perhaps more importantly, the Bulldogs simply continued to play well. The Bulldogs swept Bossier Parish to move 14-11 in Region XIV East Zone play, and 27-17 overall.
Mildred sending five to regional track meet
Sasha Ballard set a school record in the 800 meters and paced a contingent of five Mildred thinclads heading to Stephenville for the regionals later this week.
Kerens boys grab four gold medals at area track meet
Tavion Hall and Jalon Moss each snared a pair of gold medals as Kerens boys finished second at their area track meet last week with 88 points.
Area schedule for the week
Here's a look at this week's schedule for Golden Ciircle teams and Navarro College. The schedule does not include upcoming bi-district playoff games in softball because times and sites have yet to be determined.
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- GC Softball: Playoff Time