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.
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.
GC Baseball/Softball: Blooming Grove sweeps Rice in baseball and softball
Blooming Grove's Lions needed this one.
Heck, they need all of them.
That's where they're living today on the Blooming Grove diamond, where everyone knew going into Friday's game with Rice that the Lions need to win their final three games to have a chance of nailing down the final playoff spot in District 23-2A.
One down, two to go.
“It's in our hands,'' said Blooming Grove Coach Matt Anderson moments after his kids beat Rice 8-0 Friday night. “As long as we take care of our business we'll be fine.''
GC Softball/Baseball Roundup: Frost girls win district title
Frost's Lady Polar Bears needed to win to nail down the district title and they never trailed, jumping out to a 7-0 lead en route to an 11-7 clinching victory over Itasca Friday on the road. They wrapped up their second district title in a row with a 9-1 record and enter the playoffs next week at 13-1.
CHS Baseball/Softball: Whitehouse sweeps Tigers in baseball and softball
The Tigers lost a tough game to Whitehouse, 11-3 as the Wildcats' ace, Pat Mahomes, who went four innings and gave up all three runs on two hits and five walks
GC Basketball/Baseball: Mildred's Connor Hill sees life clearly
There was never any doubt for Connor Hill, never any question about what he would do or how he would do it.
Sure, there was that meeting with his mother and father and talks with the doctor when he was 10, talks and meetings that came accompanied with worry and concern.
But never from Connor.
He just never dwelled on the fact he played sports with one eye. He didn't worry or talk about it when he was 10 and he never talked about it at Mildred High, where Hill emerged as a star on the basketball court and baseball diamond.
GC Track & Field: Roundup — Frost girls win area meet
The Frost Lady Polar Bears made a shambles of their district track & field meet last week, scoring 206 points, and they were dominate again in the area meet Thursday, scoring 162 points to win the meet at Blooming Grove.
Morgan:The new endangered species
Am I just that old, or have amateur athletics gone absolutely nuts these days? On second thought, don’t answer that unless it’s yes to the nuts part.
High School and college basketball are on the verge of being totally ruined by AAU basketball. Top roundball prospects are identified by the junior high level if not earlier.
GC Track & Field: Area meet Roundup
Corsicana's Gilfillan wins 4A area pole vault title; Frost girls win 1A area team title, Frost boys finish second
GC Baseball: Mildred falls to Riesel, 9-0, on the road
Mildred managed a hit and struck out 12 times in a 9-0 loss on the road that could have given the Eagles some cushion in the 23-2A standings. They are now 5-6 with a game at league-leading Teague Tuesday.
CHS Soccer: Tigers boys and girls top off season with strong showing on All-District teams
That tough and gutsy style of play sent both the boys and girls teams into the playoffs and on Thursday the Tigers were rewarded again for their fine seasons as two boys won special honors,four boys were named to the All-District first team and two girls earned first-team honors.
Michael Roman, who did a little of everything — and did it well — was named the District 28-4A Utility Player of the Year, and sophomore defender Jesus Barreto was named the district's Newcomer of the Year.
- More Sports Headlines
- Area schedule for the week