Mililani ace pitcher Joshua “Anu” Reis’ baseball journey has taken him around the world. Earlier this week, it took him to Hans L’Orange Park in Oahu for the Hawaii Sandlot Classic.
In an event that was full of Hawaii’s top returning high school baseball talent for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year, Reis was one of the standouts. The southpaw struck out four in two innings of work on Thursday, flashing a fastball near the 90 MPH mark. For the players in the event, it was their first live action in over four and a half months. Reis was more than excited to be out there.
“Getting back to that competitive state is really good for me,” he told KHON2’s Alan Hoshida. “Haven’t been doing it in a while. It’s the best guys in the state so you see where you match up against everybody else, it’s good.
“Worked hard for all those hours just for that moment. Just to see yourself succeeding and getting better, seeing results, there’s no better feeling than that.”
Hard work is not new to Reis, who played in one of the sport’s biggest stages five summers ago. In 2015, he represented Team USA in the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup in Taipei City, Taiwan. Reis was primarily a reserve outfielder during the tournament but also managed to pitch a scoreless inning against France.
The USA ended up winning the tournament. Reis vividly remembers the championship game at a sold-out Tainan Stadium, where the team topped host Taipei 7-2.
“I just remember that summer being the best summer of my life,” Reis said. “The world championship game was packed to the max, the full stadium with fans. Winning the gold was such a great feeling, getting to dog pound in front of everybody, awesome stories for baseball.”
Reis exited that summer with an even bigger desire to play big-time baseball for a living. He seems to have accomplished the first step in that regard, committing to pitch for the University of Hawaii on a baseball scholarship.
“I felt like this idea of staying home, playoffs for high school we play at the Les and it’s always packed,” he said. “The energy there is like amazing. I just thought being able to play there for my college career would be something crazy. And plus with them recruiting a lot of local boys like never before, I like the idea of playing with local boys at the DI college level.”
Reis was a pitcher on the varsity team for Mililani when the Trojans won OIA titles in 2018 and 2019 and finished as the HHSAA runner-up in 2019. Although his chance to build on that was taken away due to the coronavirus pandemic in March, the 2021 season will present another opportunity for him. As one of the top pitching prospects in perhaps the state heading into this next year, he’s already drawn attention from pro scouts and hasn’t ruled out going straight to the pros if the chance presents itself next year.
“I feel like the pressure drives me to just want to perform better,” Reis said. “I know there’s people watching and I just want to perform good and I try not to let it get to me. I feel like it’s more fun to play under pressure.
“Just working. I know I have so much time on my hands and it’s like all this time, I could get better. Nothing else, there’s no school so just focusing on getting stronger, throwing harder and working on my craft so when the time comes and scouts can finally watch me in person, I’ll be able to impress them.”