What a catch
Navarro's Reeves makes an impact with his new team
When deciding which college to attend as an anxious 18-year-old high-schooler, John Clay Reeves chose wrong.
He signed to play baseball with the Arkansas Razorbacks, and while he got the chance to compete in the NCAA Division I College World Series in Omaha as a catcher for the Razorbacks, he didn’t fit with the rest of the team.
“You know, last year at Arkansas, you’re 18 years old as a freshman,” Reeves said. “You’ve got a lot of guys that are 23 or 24 and a lot more cliques than I was used to. It just wasn’t right for me.”
Reeves started 19 games for the Razorbacks and made 28 appearances. He hit .281 and had four RBI, and he appeared in the 2012 Waco Super Regional and at the College World Series.
Despite solid numbers, Reeves needed a change.
At the same time he was contemplating leaving the University of Arkansas, former high school teammate and Navarro (Texas) College second baseman Drake Roberts had left Oklahoma University. Roberts told Reeves he’d be a good fit at Navarro.
“I talked to him, and he told me to think about Navarro,” Reeves said. “Then (Navarro coach) Whoa Dill called me, and that was it. I mean, Whoa is about as cool as they come. It wasn’t even a question after that.”
Reeves went from playing in front of 30,000 people in Omaha, Neb., and 10,000 people in Fayetteville, Ark., to playing in front of a few hundred people in Corsicana, Texas, near Dallas.
He said that, while his time at Arkansas was useful, especially preparing for the large crowds at the Junior College World Series, the time he spent with teammates and coaches at Navarro has been invaluable.
“As far as baseball goes, they make it so much fun,” Reeves said. “They make going to practice every day a joy. It’s easy to become close-knit with guys here because you’re with them every day, and there’s really no time to do anything else besides playing baseball and hanging out with your guys.
“Seeing these guys, some who have never played in front of a big crowd, that’s special to me,” Reeves said. “It was fun playing at the College World Series in front of all those fans, but at junior colleges, you’re a lot closer to these guys, and it’s special to be able to share an event like this with them. You see their reactions to the crowds, and it’s great.”
Upon arriving at Navarro, Reeves met sophomore first baseman Tyler Wilson. The pair became quick friends, and the friendship further entrenched Reeves at Navarro.
“He was just real outgoing, like myself, and he just liked to talk a lot and have fun, you know,” Reeves said. “I just ran into him before the season, and we formed a real close bond. It’s been nice.”
Reeves has signed with Rice University in Houston, a school he chose more carefully, but he said he will cherish his time at Navarro, and hopes to win a championship.
“No doubt, coming to Navarro was the best decision I’ve made in my life,” Reeves said. “I’m looking forward to moving on, but I had the best time here. I wouldn’t trade coming here for the world. Being here with these guys has been just so special to me.”