Florence, S.C. - Francis Marion University outfielder Horace Reeves enjoyed a successful freshman season despite having to battle a serious health condition midway through the year. Ironically it was that condition, a collapsed lung, that helped land the Irmo native on the Florence campus.
Reeves ended the year with a .337 average, while scoring 21 runs and recording 10 doubles, two triples, one home run, and 18 runs batted in. Impressive stats when you factor in that the left-handed batter missed 22 games in the middle of the season due to the collapsed lung.
The 6-4 220-pound Reeves first suffered from the congenital condition during his senior year at Dutch Fork High School in the fourth game of the football season. Up to that point, he had been a major Division I prospect on the gridiron. “After that injury, those schools backed off recruiting him and he begin to concentrate primarily on baseball,” said FMU head coach Art Inabinet.
Before suffering the relapse this spring, Reeves started the first 20 games for the Patriots. At that point, he was batting .312 and led the team in runs scored, doubles, and triples, and was tied for the team lead in home runs and total bases.
Reeves then underwent surgery in Florence to correct the problem. During his absence, the Patriots struggled, losing 16 of 22 contests. During those 22 games, FMU failed to score at least four runs in 12 contests. Overall, the Patriots were 16-8 with Reeves in the lineup.
According to Reeves, the surgery eliminated air pockets from his lung and should keep the problem from reoccurring in the future.
“Reeves is a real team leader and a five-tool baseball player,” says Inabinet. “His presence gave the team inspiration, and when playing, he came through in clutch situations during the season. He possesses some of the intangibles you can’t teach. He also has a winning attitude and works extremely hard.”
Upon his return to uniform, FMU won six straight games, and ended the year with a 24-27 overall record. In his first game back following the surgery, Reeves went 1-2 with an RBI, and a week later stroked a game-winning two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Newberry College.
“I was happy to get back into uniform,” said Reeves. “I enjoyed my first year, aside from the injury, and I accomplished my initial college goal, which was to hit .300.”
Reeves played baseball at Dutch Fork under the guidance of coaches Al Berry and Mike Pulaski. He earned All-Region and All-State honors as a senior outfielder, and was selected to play in the North-South All-Star Game.
This summer, Reeves played several games with the Florence RedWolves, a team in the collegiate Coastal Plain League.
Reeves is majoring in biology.