Rhett Hayward is among a group of Ozark and Nixa grads getting ready to continue their college careers with a new team. The former Tiger is transferring from State Fair to Evangel.
"I'm excited to be back home with my family,” Hayward said while playing for the Queen City Cobras in the Show-Me Summer Collegiate League. “I was looking for a school halfway close to home. Evangel was in the right spot. I love it that family will get to see a lot more of my games. I could have chose (Baptist Bible College), too. I decided Evangel was the right fit for me.”
Hayward’s one season at State Fair saw him hit .240 with a homer in 25 at-bats.
"It wasn't bad, but not quite what I expected,” he said of time in Sedalia. “It was a tough decision (transferring). I’m leaving behind a lot of good friends and have good memories there. But it was the best decision for me. I'm going to move on.”
Hayward was a third baseman his senior season at Ozark and figures he will be a utility type for Evangel.
“They see me anywhere in the infield, probably second base,” he said.
Hayward found himself on the pitcher’s mound last week for the first time since his sophomore year at Ozark. With the Cobras short on arms, he stepped forward to throw an inning. Hayward surprised himself by striking out former Ozark teammate Holden Sabor.
“I'm going to be making fun of him for that,” Hayward said. “Hopefully, we have some actual pitchers pitch (in the Show-Me League playoffs this week), instead of position players pitching.”
Elsewhere, Nixa grad Joe Reid is also on the move. After one year at Indiana and two years at Crowder, the right-handed hitting catcher will continue his career at Loyola Marymount (California).
Reid, who committed to St. Louis and Oklahoma State while he was in high school, batted .336 with 12 homers and 43 RBIs at Crowder this year.
Ozark grads Jake Skaggs and Blake Mozley are still looking for a new home after entering the transfer portal in late May.
Skaggs batted .184 in 74 at-bats this year at Abilene Christian (Texas), after previously playing at Missouri Southern and Fort Scott (Kansas).
Mozley batted .200 in 20 at-bats this year at Nebraska after previously playing at Missouri State and Johnson County (Kansas).