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Hurtubise makes big league debut with Reds

May 27—Every young baseball player grows up with the dream of one day making it to the majors.

For Zionsville's Jacob Hurtubise, that dream became a reality earlier this month, when he was called up by the Cincinnati Reds.

"It's been a little crazy, but it's a dream come true," Hurtubise said. "It's something I have dreamed of since I started playing baseball when I was six years old in Zionsville. I thank God for the opportunity, and I am excited to go out and play and help the team."

Hurtubise, who graduated from Zionsville in 2016, is the second player from Zionsville to ever make it to the big leagues.

Tom Mastny, a 1999 ZCHS alum, pitched for the then Cleveland Indians from 2006-08.

Zionsville head coach Jered Moore, who coached Hurtubise in high school, said there is no one more deserving of the opportunity.

"It's pretty special to see him get this opportunity," Moore said. "I wasn't sure when he left Zionsville if he would have the chance. I knew he had the speed and arm, but he was going to have to develop some pop. But he has continued to work at it and it's paid off. He was a great leader, a great teammate and had a great work ethic. If there is anyone who deserves this opportunity, it's him."

An all-state selection in high school, Hurtubise won the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award while helping the Eagles be state runner-up his senior year.

He went on to West Point, earning second team All-American honors his junior year in 2019. The 2019 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, Hurtubise broke Army single-season records for runs (71), walks (69) and stolen bases (45). He set the Patriot League career mark for walks and stolen bases (141).

He signed with the Reds as an undrafted free agent in 2020, and has worked his way through the Reds system.

Hurtubise is just the second West Point graduate to make it to the Major Leagues, and the first since a new policy enacted in Nov. 2019 by President Donald Trump that allows him to defer his military service to pursue his playing career.

"West Point has given so much to me," Hurtubise said. "It taught me a lot about resiliency, hard work and being a leader. I think over the four years, you start to see a transformation of who you are as a person and I am so grateful for all the opportunities I was given at West Point, on the field, in the classroom and helping to develop people."

Hurtubise was put on the Reds 40-man roster this past off-season after batting .330 across AA and AAA last year (including .390 in 36 games in AAA).

He was finishing up a rehab assignment with Dayton and was actually back home shopping with his mom in a grocery store for a belated Mother's Day dinner when he got a call that he was needed in Arizona to join the Reds as a potential call-up as the team waited on MRI results on outfielder TJ Friedl's thumb.

He got a call a short time later that he was in fact being activated, and made his big league debut that night against the Diamondbacks as a pinch runner.

"I didn't want to get my hopes up right away, just in case it didn't work out," Hurtubise said. "But then I got the call pretty quickly that it was happening and I was getting called up. It was cool being able to spend that entire day (and process) with my mom, because I don't get to see her a lot during the season and sharing that with her was pretty special."

Since being called up, Hurtubise has fit right in with the Reds line-up.

He got his first Major League hit on Saturday, May 18 against Dodgers right hander Walker Buehler, and is batting .280 with two RBIs and a run scored in 12 games.

"Every rookie or player will tell you, it's nice to get the first one out of the way, and then you don't have it in the back of your mind," Hurtubise said. "To get the first hit off a guy like Walker Buehler, that was pretty special."

Hurtubise said when he first got called up, he just tried to focus on the baseball, and not the fact that he was now in the Major Leagues.

Starting off as a pinch runner at third base in his first game definitely helped that, because as he said, 'it's tough to screw that up.'

But while his big league career has only been two weeks so far, there still have been plenty of cool moments.

Playing the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on 'Shohei Othani Bobblehead' night was definitely one of them.

"Playing against the Dodgers, with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, guys I grew up watching, that was a cool experience," Hurtubise said. "Being there on Shohei Otanhi Bobblehead night — they had more than 53,000 people in the stands which was the most in the league this year. They were all going crazy the whole game. It's going to be hard to top that."

Hurtubise said that now that he has gotten the call to the majors, he is just focused on playing the game the way he knows how.

He isn't focused on any one or two things, and put any added pressure on himself.

Hurtubise is now trying to get settled in Cincinnati and helping the Reds win games. He is also extremely thankful for everyone who has played a part in his journey to this point and supported him along the way.

"There are so many people from Zionsville and West Point that have just been huge helps to me during my career," Hurtubise said. "I have learned so much from so many coaches, all the way through my stops in Dayton, Chattanooga and Louisville. When I got called up I had so many family, friends, coaches, teammates message me about how they bought my jersey or are going to come out to watch me play. I am just really thankful for that support and it's been really special."

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.