With Elly De La Cruz heading into his second game with the Cincinnati Reds, Alex French and his friends didn’t want to miss a chance to see history play-out in front of their eyes.
They didn’t expect to play their own part in it.
“It’s crazy,” said French.
The teenager just finished his junior year at Archbishop Moeller High School, where he also plays linebacker on the football team.
“On the way up here, we were talking about sitting up [in the top row],” said French. “Imagine if we could catch a home run or something.”
He didn’t just catch a home run ball — he caught the ball on one of the more memorable home runs in recent Reds history.
In Elly De La Cruz’s first at bat Wednesday night, the rookie phenom blasted a ball 458 feet, soaring over the right field wall.
“I didn’t think it was going to come, because we were at the very top [of the bleachers],” said French.
De La Cruz hit the ball so hard, it nearly left the stadium.
French raised his hand, hoping to catch the ball, but instead the ball deflected off his palm, and bounced to his right.
“It hurt. It hurt a lot,” said French, as he pointed to a small bruise on his hand. “Right here, there’s a bruise I think.”
French quickly ran toward the ball, to retrieve it, before celebrating with his friends.
“It’s really special. I’m lucky that I was sitting up there to catch it,” said French.
French got the ball back to Elly De La Cruz, before leaving the ballpark Wednesday night, and even got a photo with the Reds’ rookie star.
“I’m really excited to get that ball back,” said De La Cruz. “Thank you [to Alex] for coming out. We’re looking forward to getting back to playoffs and postseason as well; getting a world series.”