JJ Poulos, an incoming senior at Trinity Academy and former Derby High School student, hit a single, double, triple and home run for a rare cycle in a summer league game on July 25.
JJ Poulos had never heard of the cycle, even though he was one home run shy of completing the rare task.
Poulos, who spent the summer playing baseball for the Andover Trojans’ 19-and-under team in the American Legion League, was taking a few practice swings in the batter’s circle during the bottom of the seventh inning in a regional game against the Augusta Orioles in late July.
“My dad hollered at me through the fence and said I was one home run away from batting the cycle,” Poulos said. “I had no idea what it was. I didn’t even know it was something players went for.”
Poulos has already hit a single, double and triple in his first three at-bats of the game, leaving a home run as the last ingredient toward the cycle.
“Even though my dad told me I only needed a home run, I didn’t want to swing for the fence because I usually dip my swing too low when I do that, but, I took a chance on an inside pitch,” he said.
Poulos connected on the pitch and sent one sailing over the right-field wall for a home run, joining the rare club of baseball players ever to hit for the cycle.
How uncommon is it when a baseball player bats the cycle?
Only two MLB players have done it this season, and it has happened less than 300 times in professional baseball since 1882. Its rarity extends to the collegiate and high school levels.
Poulos said Andover’s coach, Chris Weidert, had rarely heard of a player batting the cycle during his days playing professional baseball, and even less as a high school coach. Weidert congratulated him after his home run, and the feat was acknowledged over the loudspeaker after he crossed home plate.
Poulos opened up the game with a hit to left field for a double. On his next at-bat, the lefty tripled with a line drive to center field. He ended making it home on a throwing error after making it to third base. The hit went in the books as a triple, not an inside-the-park-home-run, since it was on an Augusta throwing error. A single to the gap between center-and right-field kept the chance at a cycle alive on Poulos third at-bat.
“It’s definitely something I’ll remember,” Poulos said. “Not knowing what the cycle was actually helped. I never felt nervous at the plate about trying to keep it up.”
Poulos, 17, attended Derby High School for two years before transferring to Trinity Academy as a junior. He’s played baseball for more than a decade, and credits most of his hitting success to his batting instructor, Brad Bell, who also coached a team to the Little League World Series.
“Brad and coach Weidert have taught me everything I know about hitting,” Poulos said. “I owe them a lot for their help in keeping me focused and working on my technique.”
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