They don’t call it “The Hot Corner” for nothing. Rick Ball Ford Junior Legion third baseman A.J. Paul somehow snared a line shot off the bat of a Fike Post 499 player during the championship game of the Legion AA Zone 2 tournament July 21 at Dey Field at Liberty Park Stadium.
In a bang-bang play, Paul made the catch out of self preservation.
“If I hadn’t gotten my glove up, it would have got me in the face,” said the 16-year old Paul. “It wanted to tear the glove off my hand.”
The catch saved a sure double up the left field line and at least two RBIs in a bases-loaded situation.
Paul has spent many years on the baseball diamond. He came up through the Sedalia Little League, played eight years with the traveling Sedalia Bombers coached by John Kozak, this summer with the Rick Ball Ford Junior Legion and has played two years at Smith-Cotton.
“Baseball is my favorite sport. I have put so much time into it.” said Paul, who will be a junior at S-C ths fall.” I just enjoy the game.”
Paul also plays first base and is on the Rick Ball pitching staff.
He does well in the classroom. He has a 10.2 grade point average on an 11.0 science field, will take his ACT this coming school year and is ranked in the top 50 academically in his 210-member junior class He is considering attending the University of Missouri to major in the science area and wants to play baseball. However, that is no set in stone because he said his family may be moving back to California. Paul was born in Santa Barbara, Ca.
Paul is taking Honors College Prep English this year and Trigonometry/Math Analysis his senior year. He is a member of the S-C Tiger Pride Band Drum Line and plays the snare drum in the S-C Show Choir.
“Academics are more important.” said Paul. “You have a better chance to succeed in life with academics.”
Besides baseball, Paul played tree years in the Paul Klover Soccer League, one year in the Sedalia Youth Football League, several years with a traveling basketball team coached by Mark Cox and played two years of basketball at S-C. He does not plan to play basketball this year.
In his spare time, Paul enjoys golfing and working at the Golf Shop at the Sedalia Country Club.
Paul has an older brother, Chris Paul, 20, and older sister Jenny Paul, 18, both graduates of Smith-Cotton and now are attending Santa Barbara Community College in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Paul is the son of Judy and David Paul, Sedalia.