Getting hit by a pitch hurts. Teammates used to tell me when I was at the plate to take one for the team because they “have ice.” Rub some dirt on it, they’d say after just wearing a 90-MPH fastball to the rib cage seconds before.
Nope. No way. If a fastball is zooming toward a batter at home, the logical and reasonable thing to do is duck out of the way. Heck, even pulling a move from The Matrix or swinging at the dang pitch is better than letting it hit you in the neck and having everyone at school ask if that welt is a hickey.
One high school baseball player in Georgia figured out a better way to deal with it: just catch it.
Batter Catches Fastball Like It’s Nothing
The boy (man? ninja? Neo from The Matrix?) at the plate here is Jojo Odachowski. He was a sophomore shortstop at Mount Pisgah Christian School in Johns Creek, Georgia, in 2015.
Odachowski was batting in a game when the opposing pitcher threw a ball heading for what looked to be his head. We don’t know if it was a fastball or off-speed pitch, but his reaction was certainly unorthodox.
He caught it. Barehanded. Then, he flipped it to the catcher like he’d done it 1,000 times.
That’s got to be the most disrespectful thing a batter can do to a pitcher. Screw a bat flip. Jojo basically just said, “you throw so slow that I can catch your heater barehanded!”
Jojo didn’t even realize he’d actually technically been hit by the pitch. After he flipped it to the catcher, he made a motion like he wanted to get back in the box. The home plate umpire told him otherwise.
“I was going to continue to hit [before the ump ruled a hit by pitch],” Odachowski told MaxPreps. “I absolutely hate getting walked.”
Same, Jojo, same.
Jojo Odachowski parlayed this viral clip into a college baseball career at Virginia Tech. The Alpharetta, Georgia native saw 25 at-bats as a freshman and was hit by a pitch once. He’s now listed on the roster at Chattahoochee Valley Community College.
I’ve seen batters catch pitches on accident between their elbow and back, but not many have the guts to pull of what Jojo Odachowski did.
This post was originally published on February 5, 2021, but this barehand catch is still wild.