BRIGHAM CITY -- She has a ticket to paradise, but not for a tropical vacation.
"In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be playing softball in Hawaii," said Box Elder senior right-hander Baylee Reeves.
The 17-year-old Reeves is off to BYU-Hawaii in September to further her education while a member of the Seasiders' softball team.
"BYU-Hawaii was really the only one that showed me any interest at first," Reeves said. "I feel like I made the right decision. I wanted to go out of state, but I didn't think it would be Hawaii."
Reeves, a two-year starter who set the pace for the Bees' back-to-back Region 5 titles in 2012 and 2013 with a composite 29-1 record, is the 2013 Standard-Examiner All-Area Softball Team's Most Valuable Player.
"Baylee picked her team up and motivated them to a great run after losing in the (2012 state 4-A) quarterfinals (5-1 to Murray). They made it all the way back to the state championship," said Box Elder coach Mandy Hodgson.
"Baylee is one of the best all-around athletes to play at Box Elder," she said. "I am so proud of her. Baylee will do great things at the next level. I can't wait to see what is in her future."
Reeves had a 17-2 record with a 0.82 ERA and seven shutouts. She pitched 129 innings with 110 strikeouts, nine walks and no hit batters.
Reeves, who played some as a freshman and sophomore, batted .395 with 32 hits, 10 doubles, 23 RBIs, 25 runs, a .467 on-base percentage and a .519 slugging percentage for the Bees (27-3 overall).
Box Elder's season ended with a 3-2 setback to Salem Hills on May 23 at Taylorsville's Valley Complex.
"I've gotten over it, but thinking back there were things we could have done different or better," Reeves said. "We could have battled more to win that first game and play them again.
"Salem Hills didn't score a run off me in the championship game," she said. "I was a little upset that I didn't start the game, but I had faith in Abbey (Martin)."
Reeves came on in the sixth inning after starting the title game in right field.
"We had a lot of talent, and they wanted to win no matter what," she said. "Of course, we wanted to win. Salem Hills had a little something extra we didn't have. I don't know if we would have won if I had started. We needed to hit to win and score more runs than we did."
Martin, a junior right-hander, allowed three Skyhawks' runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Reeves worked two innings, giving up only one hit, with a strikeout.
"I think we were overthinking too much instead of doing what we did during the season," Reeves said.
"I think if we would have won the first game we would have beaten them the second game because they only had one pitcher."
Salem Hills also beat Box Elder 6-2 in eight innings earlier in the 4-A tournament.
"After we lost to them the first time, we didn't want to lose again," Reeves said. "We came out the next day and got on a roll against Roy and Bonneville (winning the two games by a combined 19-0 margin). We had the right mindset and momentum.
"We still had the mindset after beating Provo (8-3), but we got psyched out having never been in the state championship before," she said.
The Bees were seeking their first state 4-A title since 2006.
"After the championship game, we were so emotional," Reeves said. "As the night went on, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. But in thinking back I'm still upset because of a missed opportunity."
Box Elder had the potential go-ahead run at first base with one out in the seventh inning after Salem Hills' junior right-hander Kirtlyn Bohling pitched around Molly Horne, eventually walking her. Kelsey Rodriguez flied out to right field and Reeves popped up to shortstop for the game's final out.
"We were so close to winning that first game," Reeves said. "I think we played a little scared the first time against Salem Hills and we knew what to expect the second time we played them. We had plenty of chances to win."
The Bees had at least a base runner in every inning of the championship game. But they stranded nine, including three in scoring position versus the Skyhawks.
"We got better every year and finished second this year," Reeves said, "but first would have been nice. When I was a freshman, I didn't realize how big a deal it was winning state. But when I was a junior I really wanted to take state.
"I feel like I got better as a softball player during my career as a pitcher and an overall player," she said. "My best pitch is my riseball with a screwball, a drop curve and a change-up. If I needed an out, it was my screwball."
Reeves feels like she was a calming influence on the team.
"If there were any times we were in trouble, I kept the team relaxed and was a leader on the field, more so by example," she said. "This year I made sure I didn't have too many regrets like I did as a junior. I wanted to work my hardest, do my best and be a good example for my team.
"I think it was good that we lost to Bingham (3-1 in a May 3 non-league game at South Jordan)," Reeves said. "We had a huge target on our back going undefeated as long as we did.
"Region is totally different than state," she said. "We knew there was better competition at state than region."
BYU-Hawaii became aware of Reeves at a Utah Valley camp last summer.
"They saw me there and things progressed from there," she said.
"I took an official visit there in October and I gave a verbal commitment right after. It felt like the right place when I made a visit, but I didn't know at first because it was so far away from home."