The Home Run Shot
World Series Champion. National collegiate player of the year. Indiana's Mr. Baseball. You don't have to look far in Terre Haute to find baseball excellence when it comes to AJ Reed. Especially, when the big leaguer still lives right across the street from the baseball field he grew up playing at.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Ask any Riley baseball player who competed against AJ growing up about AJ. Ask any of them. Guarantee they will stop what they are doing, look you in the eye, and attest to AJ's dominance as a kid. He was unhittable as a pitcher. He delivered a home run almost every at bat. You just swung your bat hoping to make contact with his 75mph plus fastball by chance. You intentionally walked him to minimize the damage. Needless to say, AJ was a force to be reckoned with.
And AJ continued to be a force at each level of baseball. Let's just read his stat line from his high school senior year: a .585 batting average, .722 on base percentage (remember the intentional walks?), and 16 home runs and 48 RBIs when he was actually pitched to. Not impressed enough? Let's flip to the defensive side of the game: 8-1 pitching record, 1.06 earned run average, and 108 K's in 66 innings (that's 1.63 strikeouts per inning if you prefer not to do math). A force to be reckoned with.
The thing is, AJ continued his two-dominance at the University of Kentucky. Let's pull out the stat sheet again. He led the nation in home runs in 2014. Let's just pause and appreciate that for a moment. A collegiate player from Terre Haute led the nation in home runs. However, perhaps the best stat was that he was walked 49 times. The opposing team already knew what was coming. And oh, let's not forget AJ's pitching. He was 12-2 on the mound with a 2.09 ERA for the Wildcats. AJ transcends the stereotype that pitchers can't hit.
Let's go to the next level. AJ Reed would get the call up in 2016 for the Houston Astros, and in 2017 would earn a World Series ring with the organization. The story is fairytale. In this blog, we usually focus on the story behind the trick shot as opposed to the athlete's accolades. However, AJ's dominance has to be emphasized. And it feeds into why we wanted to make AJ's trick shot so good. The big leaguer made history for Terre Haute.
So how do you get ahold of AJ when the offseason hits? Well to be honest, it's pretty easy when you were both those Riley kids being struck out by AJ every time. Furthermore, it's even easier when AJ wanted to be a part of our trick shot videos back in middle school. Man, would've that been cool? However, it never happened, and it kind of reminiscences of that Apple stock you should've bought back
when it first went public.
We knew AJ from Riley and we knew AJ from trick shots. However, the actual way we asked AJ to do a trick shot was when AJ's wife, Shelbie Reed, called TSC's Logan Steward to pressure wash their house. The rest is history, as an exchange of Steward Pressure Washing, LLC for an AJ Reed trick shot seems like a fair trade.
Flash forward to the trick shot day, and the gang's all here. AJ, Shelbie, and two special guests - the family dogs Moose and Buck. The day is beautiful and it's time to start swinging for the fences. Well, goal actually.
So AJ, like any other trick shot athlete, aims for the goal. However, when the goal is beyond center field, there's chance for error, as a millimeter difference in where you hit the ball translates to a bigger difference in where the ball travels in the outfield. AJ wants to hit the shot, but one of those millimeter differences would result in hitting something else: TSC's Garrett Baysinger. Watch that here.
Bloopers go both ways at Trick Shots For Charity. So AJ, if you're reading this, you're not off the hook. Especially when you run into the law. Just watch here if you are confused.
All jokes aside, AJ continues to swing for the fences. We modify the shot from soft tossing to hitting off a tee, and after 3 hours, AJ swishes the shot. Not makes the shot, but swooshes the shot. The goal is so far away, it's hard to tell it even went in (the testament of a good trick shot). However, Garrett and Logan confirm, and The Home Run Shot is complete. It's worth more than one run in our books. We're sure the same can be said for the Terre Haute community. Thank you AJ.
Click the image to learn more about AJ Reed