By Marty Gordon
Christiansburg softball standout Baylee Reasor is looking forward to this spring’s high school season, and this week she announced her plans to continue her career at Emory & Henry College.
“I chose E&H because I fell in love with the campus the first time I toured,” she said. “I had already been on board with the athletic side of Emory, but I was very excited to find out that they are just as competitive academically. I have always known that I didn’t want to go to a very big school. Growing up near colleges like Radford and Virginia Tech, I have learned that I appreciate the more intimate relationships with my professors; and that I learn better in a smaller classroom environment.”
Last year’s E&H softball team finished the season ranked 13th in NCAA Division III, posting a 3-2 record in the NCAA Division III Tournament, the deepest postseason run in program history. The Wasps (29-9, 13-3 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC)) fell in the regional championship to national runner-up Texas Lutheran University to finish tied for ninth in the tournament.
The Southwest Virginia school moves up to Division II competition this spring as Tommy Forrester enters his ninth year as head softball coach. Forrester’s teams have played in three of the last four NCAA Division III national tournaments (2017, 2019, 2021), and he has amassed 191 wins in his first eight years, second-most in program history.
The squad includes three area players: Makayla Dowdy (Blacksburg), Emily Scaggs (Auburn), and Olivia Yates (Floyd).
“What truly had me hooked from the beginning was the softball program at E&H,” Reasor said. “Coach Forrester has been very inviting and supportive of me ever since I met him. His softball team that is currently at Emory reflects those qualities as well, and I can’t wait to join them this fall.”
This past year, she was the winner of the “2021 Home Run Club,” a competition that her hitting coach, Dwayne Puryear at Blue Ridge Hitting Center, holds annually. She won the competition with 23 home runs last season.
She was also named the “Most Valuable Offensive Player” and first-team all-district for the 2021 season. Her freshman year, she was all-district and all-region and second team all-state.
But her success has not been limited to the softball field.
Academically, Reasor made the President’s List at New River Community College in four straight semesters and was awarded first place in “Introduction to Public Speaking” at the regional competition for the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) in 2020.
She is also the President of the Senior Class, President of the BETA Club, Secretary of the Student Government Association, a member of the International Thespian Society, the International Honor Society, the Help Save the Next Girl CHS chapter, the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), the National Society of High School Scholars, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Phi Theta Kappa (the national honor society for community colleges).
The Blue Demons begin their spring season next week, and Reasor is excited about it.
“We have so much talent and potential on the team, I truly can’t wait to see how far we can go,” she said. “It would be an honor for our team to participate in the postseason state level competition and win; that’s our team’s overall goal this season. However, that type of drive and dedication begins in practice, so that’s what we’re doing. One day at a time, one practice at a time, we are all pushing each other to become better athletes.”
She hopes to continue that dedication at the next level.
“E&H currently has a lot of talent on their team, and I’ve seen it first-hand because I have watched games personally and online,” Reasor said. “However, I always want to push myself to be the best athlete I can be. I have no doubt that I will push myself to do the same thing at E&H. My goal at Emory is to be a starting outfielder and have a spot near the top of the batting lineup,” she said.
At E&H, Reasor plans on majoring in biology and later attending Virginia Tech’s medical school (VCOM). “I then want to study dermatology, so I can eventually earn my license and open my own local practice,” she said.