YouTube videos, Albert Pujols and baseball: This Rochester family lives the game
Kids often try to mirror their favorite Major League Baseball player.
None inspired Austin Adcock more than Albert Pujols.
“Pujols is the greatest St. Louis baseball player of all time — the greatest of our generation, so it was hard not to,” Adcock said of imitating the star slugger.
Adcock certainly channeled that inner Pujols on Tuesday and ripped a galvanizing three-run home run in the sixth inning to help vault Rochester to a 15-11 Central State Eight Conference victory over Sacred Heart-Griffin at Comstock Field.
It just seemed to happen naturally, not unlike his love and appreciation for baseball.
His dad, Josh, and grandpa, Rick, each carved out baseball careers themselves through college. That simply rubbed off Austin and his younger brother, Zack.
“They didn't force it upon us,” Austin said. “But baseball was always number one — always hit off the tee and have a Cardinal game on every day. I still watch baseball 24/7. I watch YouTube about how to get better at baseball.
"I mean, it's just something that was cemented in their head to make us better.”
Austin has been combing through videos since he was about 5 or 6 years old.
The senior center fielder ranked fifth in the CS8 last season with a .462 batting average, including 11 RBIs and nine runs in the clean-up spot. He now hits in the No. 3 hole, followed by the junior sibling. They combined for four hits, five RBIs and four runs in Tuesday’s thrilling comeback win.
“We've always been baseball players,” Zack said.
Both transferred from Pawnee as underclassmen and have provided a major boost since the COVID-19 hiatus.
“Austin studies the game and knows what he's doing up there, and he knows how he's trying to get better and he's always putting in time to get better,” Rochester coach Matt Carlson said. “He's a great kid. It's fun. He's an easy player to coach.”
Sparking the offense
Austin faced two strikes in the count trailing 11-7 in the sixth inning before launching his three-run dinger over the left field fence. He contemplated the opposite field but reacted to the inside pitch and turned on it. The Rockets (3-6 overall, 2-3 CS8) ultimately rallied ahead with eight runs in the frame.
“I was a little out front of it, but it worked,” Austin said of his first home run of the season.
“I'm just trying to be nice and easy,” Austin said. “Sometimes I just try too hard. I'm just trying to relax and drive it to center field and just have a nice, good approach. I could improve on some things in the field, but I feel pretty comfortable out there. Everything's coming together.”
That also includes defense. He shares the outfield with Zack and sophomore Parker Gillespie.
“You're just the general out there,” Adcock said. “You take over the outfield, and it's the spot that I feel comfortable in, like telling everyone what to do. Our outfield is very good. We're quick. We know how to play it, so I feel very comfortable there. I trust my left and right fielders for sure.”
Defense is the team’s biggest strength, Zack said.
“We all know how to make plays and we're all fundamental,” Zack said.
Austin, by chance, committed to NJCAA Division II Lincoln Land Community College just prior to Tuesday’s game. He lauded the Loggers’ ability to develop local talent.
He also commended his brother in their last season together at the high school level.
“Ever since we were little, I've always had to rely on him,” Austin said. “It's a blessing to be able to play with him every single day. I mean, not a lot of people get to play with their brother, so it's pretty cool.”
Contact Bill Welt: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter.com/BillWelt