Luke Reynolds lost in the 2014 NJCAA national championship game at Hinds Community College.
Reynolds was all set to return and go after the elusive title again as a sophomore but a possibility to play baseball at Mississippi State, a school he’d cheered for since birth, was something he simply could not pass up.
“I had every intention of going back (to Hinds),” Reynolds said. “But I got this opportunity late in the summer and jumped on it as soon as the scholarship was offered to me. This was my dream school and I had to jump on that opportunity.”
The chance of suiting up in maroon and white not only fulfilled a lifelong goal, it also followed a family tradition. Reynolds’ grandparents, parents and brothers all attended MSU.
Now instead of ringing a cowbell from the stands like thousands of other fans, the Forest native is stepping onto Dudy Noble Field donning the same uniform as his childhood heroes.
“We don’t have fans here, we have family,” Reynolds said. “I was a part of that fan base my entire life. It’s pretty cool now to be on the other end of it and seeing the fans. The fans here have the best passion in the game. I share that same passion as the fans.”
In February, Reynolds was able to realize his dream when he entered the season opener in the sixth inning as a pinch hitter against Cincinnati.
“I’d say I was more anxious than nervous,” Reynolds said. “It was a real surreal moment and I tried to soak it in and make the best out of it. You try to keep a level head and not let the atmosphere or nerves get to you. But it was an awesome, awesome moment.”
If there was a most improved award handed out at the end of the year it likely would have gone to Reynolds. He saw his batting average surge from .175 to .304 over the final month of the season.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder ended the year on a 10-game hitting streak going 20-for-40 at plate over that span with four doubles and seven RBIs.
“I struggled at the beginning of the year and tried to work really hard to prepare for my moment,” Reynolds said. “Luckily it paid off. I’m just trying to help the team win any way that I can.”
Reynolds finished the season third on the team in hitting and started 20 of the 35 games in which he appeared.
Reynolds has carried his hot bat on the road with the Lima Locos of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. Through 11 games, he is hitting .297 with three doubles, two RBIs and two stolen bases.