Penn Hills product Reis finds power as batter for Waynesburg
There was something broken with his swing before Waynesburg sophomore second baseman Tyler Reis stumbled upon a YouTube video that was the key to his turnaround.
During the offseason, Reis, a Penn Hills graduate, was shown video by his teammate and roommate, Tyler Godwin, of MLB star Josh Donaldson explaining his swing in an MLB Network interview.
Reis immediately started to apply a leg kick and made a change to his load in the batting cage. He made a adaptation to focus on getting his shoulders through the zone instead of his hands.
At first, the changes felt awkward. However, after the first handful of games with live pitching, Reis was able to nail down his timing.
He was being told by his teammates his new swing should generate more power for him.
“I didn't believe them until our first game of the year. I felt pretty awkward at the plate. I hit an inside curveball that I thought would be normally a pop-up to left field for me, and it ended up going over the fence,” Reis said.
“After that happened, it kind of hit me that I now have more power than I thought I did. It just took time for me to get my timing down and get use to seeing live pitching.”
In fact, Reis finished with strong power numbers for Waynesburg (18-21, 12-12 Presidents' Athletic Conference) as he broke the single-season school record in home runs. Reis led the PAC with 11 home runs and 105 total bases.
Reis finished second in slugging (.695), fifth in runs scored (42), hits (56) and RBIs (38) and tenth in batting average (.371).
“My mindset is to put a good swing on the ball and put the barrel on the ball every single time. I always want to do damage,” Reis said.
“If I put the barrel on the ball, the odds are that I'm going to hit it hard. Good things happen when you hit the ball hard and put it in play.”
Reis, who hit third for the Yellow Jackets, was named PAC Hitter of the Week for Week 8.
During the week, Reis had a big game against Bethany in the second game of a doubleheader where he we went 4 for 4 with a triple, two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored.
Reis was one of five Yellow Jackets named the All-PAC Baseball teams. He joined senior first baseman Jonathon Kletzli as first-team selections for Waynesburg.
“It felt really good because of all the hard work that I have been putting in is starting to pay off. It was really satisfying to see my name up on that list. It makes me want to work even harder to make sure my name doesn't come off it,” Reis said.
The Yellow Jackets were alive for the PAC playoffs going into their final series against Grove City. Waynesburg had to take two of three from Grove City. However, Waynesburg lost two, including a 14-12 defeat in the final game of the season.
“We didn't have to depend on other teams, whether they won or lost. It was all up to us. All we had to do was win the series. In high school and college, I have never been in the playoffs,” Reis said.
“It was motivation going into the last series knowing that if we came and we performed the way I know we can, then we can win the series and end up in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we fell short.”
Andrew John is freelance writer.