By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
PURDY, Mo. —
He didn’t say it.
But sophomore Reese Veith probably realizes as much as anyone else that he’s a longshot to earn a starting berth in baseball the next two seasons at Purdy High School.
“I love baseball,” Veith said on Friday. “(The Cardinals’) David Freeze is my hero.
“Maybe I’ll get an opportunity to start next season at second base. That’s my goal.
“But if I don’t make it as a starter next season it won’t mentally get me down,” Veith said. “I plan to play all four years.
“I just need to keep working and playing hard every day,” Veith said. “I need to improve everything.”
Said Eagle coach Joshua Hughes: “He has a shot (at earning that starting berth). Anybody does ... whomever earns it.
“I don’t treat him any different,” Hughes said. “I don’t make exceptions. He has to do it all. He has to shag fly balls, too. He understands the game. He’s part of the team.
“He comes out there each day,” Hughes said. “He works with the equipment and helps with the stats.
“He wants it worse than anyone on the team,” Hughes said. “He has the desire. The problem is his physical ability.
“But Reese isn’t a kid who’ll use his lack of physical ability as an excuse.” Hughes said. “I believe he’ll want to play an organized sport after high school.”
The 4-foot-4, 112-pound son of Renee and Ronnie Veith has older brothers, Ryan and Riley, who were all-state players in baseball for the Eagles.
Said Reese: “I’m a fan of my brothers and I accept the (current) role of cheerleader.”
There’s a magic number quickly coming up when Reese looks at his chances next season. The Eagles will lose six seniors.
“I’ve had super treatment from my teammates and classmates,” Reese Veith said. “I’ve enjoyed Purdy.”
The right-handed swinging Veith has gone hitless in two at-bats for the varsity this season.
Said Hughes with a laugh: “He doesn’t like to walk. He’d rather hit.”
Agreed Veith: “I like to hit the ball. Like coach said, I don’t like taking walks.”
Added Hughes: “I bond with a lot of our players. Some, of course, more than others. Reese is in that category.”