Joshua Reis didn’t let the cancellation of spring season break him.
Instead, the Mililani pitcher-first baseman kept working. He went 1-for-2 with an RBI and walk on Wednesday afternoon as Team ‘Elima defeated Team ‘Eha, 8-2, at the Hawaii Sandlot Classic at Hans L’Orange Park.
Reis will be on the mound on Thursday in a 6 p.m. game. The southpaw is hitting 90 mph on the speed gun. He goes by Anu, a shorter version of his middle name, Keanu. He’s the oldest of five children, which made his commitment to Hawaii in 2019 almost automatic.
“I feel good. My junior season got cut short, so I’m glad to have baseball back. I missed it,” Reis said. “I feel like I just fit over there (at UH). It’s close to home and I like the idea of it, just playing at Les (Murakami Stadium). Have a lot of family come and watch. Plus, they’re recruiting a lot of local boys. It’ll be cool to play with a bunch of guys from Hawaii.”
As his fastball developed velocity, he put a lot of time into his off-speed pitch.
“Before, my change-up was really not that good. This off-season, I really worked on the change-up a lot, and velocity-wise, too. This is the hardest I’ve ever thrown. I’ve been working with Coach Ash (Kuhaulua). He helped me a lot, especially on my fastball and my change-up.”
Ashkhon Kuhaulua of Academy of Missing Barrels is the Classic’s analytic measurement guy. He has a black box on the grass 10 feet in front of home plate to measure velocity and spin numbers. Working with Reis has been a good experience on his side, too.
“Aside from him and (Caleb) Lomavita, he is by far the No. 1 lefty in his class.
Reis threw on Saturday at the Classic’s pitchers showcase at Keehi Lagoon.
“His spin rate is in the 2300, 2400s, an elite spin rate. He’s very elusive. He hides the ball really well. His ball has a ton of late life. He’s very efficient. Sharp, late-breaking slider and he has excellent feel for his change-up. His three-pitch arsenal is tough, tough to beat,” Kuhaulua said.
When Reis committed to UH last year, his fastball was in the 83-85 mph range.
“UH is getting a steal,” Kuhaulua said. “The kid has amazing work ethic. He’s a yes-coach guy, big-time family guy. Always talking about his little brothers and sisters. He’s the oldest and he’s a great big brother.”
The spring and summer have been unlike another other for athletes. Reis kept his days organized and busy.
“I work out with Bryant Moniz, he used to be the UH quarterback. He has a workout area at his house. I go there in the morning, 8 a.m. Before breakfast, otherwise I would throw up,” Reis said. “Mostly strength training and speed and quickness.”
“I have a workout area at my house and a batting cage. I’m lucky. My dad (Jacob Reis) built all of it. It’s like hand-me-downs. My papa (Eric Ige) used to be a softball coach. I don’t get as many cuts as I like. I’m more of a pitcher,” Reis said.
Once the Classic ends on Friday, Reis will continue the grind.
“I try to use the break as a change to get better. There’s so much free time. My dad goes to work every day so I do my own stuff. Before, he used to get on me, but now I do my own (training),” he said.
Top 3 shows/movies
1. Tiger King. “That’s a crazy show.
Top 3 foods/drinks
1. Meat Jun. “From Don Yang (in Wahiawa).”
2. Ribs. “From Chili’s.”
3. Laulau. “It doesn’t matter where.”
Reis: “Shout out to my mom (Ericka Reis).”