April 6, 2012
|by Brandon Barca (Archive)
Twitter updates @brandonbarca
It took Riley Reynolds 406 at-bats.
Tony Kemp... 365.
The friendly competition between Vanderbilt roommates (and lefties) to see when each could homer went longer than expected, but it was finally accomplished within three weeks of each other.
"Unbelievable. Feels great. Words can't describe it," said Kemp, almost speechless after his first career long ball, a three-run shot, Tuesday in the Commodores' win over Tennessee-Martin. ( watch)
Reynolds owned bragging rights first, however, when he connected on a two-run blast against Siena on March 14. ( watch)
The duo wanted to keep their composure on the base paths, but stood no chance after they saw the team crowded around home plate.
"I tried to be a tough guy and not really smile," Reynolds said. "Once I rounded third and everyone at home was smiling, it was hard not to."
Kemp, who was grinning from helmet to cleats, said the first thing he heard from teammates was "finally."
Reynolds has "muscled up" before, taking a home run cut at the plate, but not without razzing from the dugout.
Kemp came close to the feat a couple of times in 2011 but didn't have the distance. Some wondered if his first round-tripper would be over the fence or inside the park.
When word spread on social media of the homers, former Commodores wanted to know if the knocks were legit.
Both cleared the wall in right-center just over the 375-foot mark and traveled a few rows into the bleachers. Reynolds and Kemp admitted, though, they were unsure if the hits were going to make it. Both players sprinted out of the box upon contact, not realizing what they had achieved.
"I think I was more shocked because I looked up and the flag was blowing about 15 miles per hour out of the stadium," noted Kemp. "So there you go. Thank you, wind."
No matter how you look at it, a dinger is a dinger.
With the streak over, they'll have their home run trots perfected in no time.