The latest Eagles player to join the ranks of college athlete is Reese Stevenson, who signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kan., on Tuesday.
"It's a relief to have my name on that paper and turn my attention back to baseball," said Stevenson. "Going to college is a big deal in my family. Not many have had the opportunity or even went on to college. It's a big deal."
Stevenson has been a fixture on the Purdy Eagles' baseball lineup since his freshman year, and over the past four years, he has played numerous positions, including shortstop, pitcher, catcher and second base.
"Many people don't realize what a hard worker Reese is," said Purdy coach Josh Hughes. "He is the silent leader on our team and always leads by example. I can't count the times I have driven by the ballfields here in town, and Reese and his dad have been there working out. He's a great kid."
As a junior, Stevenson hit .461 with 15 doubles, three homeruns and 29 RBI. On the mound, Stevenson compiled a 3-0 record with a 3.77 ERA and 43 strikeouts.
"The thing I love about baseball is that you need a friend to play with," said Stevenson. "You can't play catch by yourself or pitch to yourself. It is a team sport."
The Saint Mary Spires see Stevenson competing for playing time in the middle of the infield.
"We are very excited to sign a player of Reese's caliber for the 2012 recruiting class," said St. Mary's head baseball coach Rob Miller. "Reese will be a quality addition to our program, and we expect many things from him over the next four years.
"We feel Reese has been well coached in the game of baseball, and we are excited to work with him on a daily basis," Miller continued. "We look to continue his development and watch him grow into a quality starter for the University of Saint Mary."
Stevenson knows he's had great support from several sources who helped him achieve his goal.
"My parents, coach Hughes, Ken Terry, Craig Williams and Mike Hall have always encouraged and pushed me to become a better player," said Stevenson. "I wouldn't be here today if those people didn't help me along.
"I understand that by moving on to play baseball at Saint Mary I am representing Purdy High School and the community, and I will do my best to make them proud to call me a Purdy High alumni."
Stevenson is the son of Bobby and Stacy Stevenson, of Purdy. At Saint Mary, Stevenson plans to major in criminal justice. He joins former teammate and friend Riley Veith at the university.