Thursday 23 May 2019


Athlete of the Week: Cal Reese

CAL REESE
Faith Christian

By ANDREW STEVENS

Finding a high school pitcher with the confidence and ability to consistently throw a knuckle-ball for strikes is rare.

Those who have watched Cal Reese’s progression know the Faith Christian senior isn’t your typical pitcher.

The ace of the Conquerors’ staff, Reese is also a sure-handed shortstop, one of Faith’s best hitters and a consummate leader both on and off the field.

Reese is this week’s Mt. Olive Pickles High School Athlete of the Week. The High School Athlete of the Week is a partnership between Curtis Media Group and Mt. Olive Pickles to recognize local high school athletes who excel athletically, academically and through service to their community.

The recognized athletes are chosen by the athletic department and administration from their respective high schools.

Reese’s love for baseball was forged at an early age as he spent countless hours assisting his father Stephen, maintain the baseball fields for the Northwest Youth Sports Association. That hard work along side his dad allowed Cal to develop a work ethic that pays dividends today.

Along with a knuckle-ball, Cal throws a bevy of pitches, including a cutter. He added the knuckleball to his arsenal as a sophomore, and his command and confidence in that pitch has continued to grow.

Cal’s ability and poise on the mound has helped him start this Spring with a 2-1 record and a 2.02 earned run average in six appearances. He has tallied 30 strikeouts and surrendered just seven runs in 30 innings of work.

Cal compiled 48 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings of work in 2018, en route to being named a North Carolina Christian Schools Athletic Association All-State selection, and Faith’s co-Most Valuable Player. He also earned Faith’s Conqueror Award, an honor given annually to an athlete who participates in at least three state sports and achieves certain academic requirements.

“I practice all throughout the year,” Cal said. “I practice every day during the season and a couple of times a week during the off-season. I started throwing a knuckle-ball as a sophomore, and it was kind of hard to control it. Now, I’ve gotten to the point where I can control it and throw it with two strikes.”

Cal’s impact on the Conquerors extends beyond the mound to his contributions at the plate and at shortstop. He has a .458 batting average this season with 11 hits and 12 RBI in 24 at-bats.

Perhaps Cal’s greatest attribute is the peace of mind he provides head coach Justin Smith. Smith never has to worry about Cal getting in extra work on his own, his willingness to approach each game and practice with the right attitude, and the priority he places on academics.

“I credit Cal, and his dad, and other guys he’s surrounded himself with” Smith said. “He’s a student of the game. He’s a kid that eats, sleeps and breathes baseball.He’s going to want to do a lot of stuff on his own without a lot of prodding. I think Cal, he was showing leadership skills when he was younger. Whenever he’s gone, the younger guys are going to take that leadership ability to make our program that much better.”

When he isn’t leading the Conquerors to victories on the diamond, Cal is also a member of the basketball and soccer teams at Faith. Cal is also involved with the youth group at Faith Free Will Baptist Church. He has participated in mission trips and he volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County.

“You really have to use your time wisely in everything that you do,” Cal said. “You have to stay on top of practice and your academics at the same time.”

Cal plans to attend Wayne Community College next Fall, and eventually transfer to North Carolina State University to study Civil Engineering.

“My dad teaches civil engineering, so it’s kind of been instilled into my brain a little bit, being at home with him,” Cal said. “N.C. State is one of the top civil engineering schools out there.”

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