AOM: Stephens leaves his mark on RJR

Maggie Frail, Staff Writer

Senior Luke Stephens is a four year varsity starter for the Reynolds baseball team and expects nothing but the best from himself and the team he plays for.

“Luke’s a fierce competitor on the field, head baseball coach Pat Frail said. “He expects perfection from himself and expects the same from his teammates.”

Before Stephens started as a pitcher, he played at second base or shortstop.

“I was never really a pitcher until high school and Coach Welch had me pitching summer ball and I made varsity freshman year for pitching,” Stephens said.

Since then, Stephens has most enjoyed having control on the mound and being able to think through the game.

“I like the mental aspect of pitching,” Stephens said. “Baseball is such a reactionary sport and to able to control the game and think through things is what I enjoy.”

There are aspects about Stephens pitching that keep his opponents on their toes.

“He pitches from two arm angles making it difficult for hitters to get comfortable,” Frail said.

Stephens baseball career will not end after his time at Reynolds. In November he signed to play baseball at Wofford College.

“I’m just excited to play baseball for four more years honestly and not have this year be my last year” Stephens said.

Even though he will have new teammates, Stephens will miss all the players he played with at Reynolds.

“The people here is what I’ll miss the most,” Stephens said. “Last year we had eight seniors and I miss those guys and I’ll miss the guys this year.”

While Stephens will miss his teammates, the team will miss his strong leadership on the field.

“His leadership more than anything will be missed next year,” Frail said. “He knows baseball and communicates what he knows to his teammates.”

There is more that is recognized than his leadership. The work he puts in, on and off the field has made an impression on his coaches and teammates.

“He works hard in the classroom, in the weight room, in preseason and in season,” Frail said. “Nobody told him that’s what it took to be at the next level, he just does it.”

While his coaches admire his work ethic, Stephens looks up to Major League Baseball player Dustin Pedroia as an influence.

“I always looked up to Major League player Dustin Pedroia, he symbolize a lot of work ethic,” Stephens said.

He also looks up to his grandfather, the man who sparked his interest in baseball.

“My grandfather played college baseball and helped me grow to love baseball,” Stephens said. “He went to ECU to play football and baseball.”

While Stephens’ time with the Reynolds baseball team is coming to a close, the younger Stephens time is just beginning. His brother, freshman Matthew Stephens, is playing for the JV team but Stephens hopes they get a chance to play a game together before he leaves.

“Hopefully we get to play a game together, it’d be pretty cool,” Stephens said.

Photo provided by Luke Stephans