Gillette’s Aydin Jeffress takes over the internet with a batting bat | Local | Panda Anku

It’s every athletic kid’s dream to end up at SportsCenter.

Aydin Jeffress did it with just one punch. The 12-year-old Gillette Little League star threw a two-barrel home run over the left field fence earlier this month during the Mountain Region Tournament in San Bernardino, Calif.

Aydin’s home run instantly catapulted him to internet fame. The slugger estimates the ball traveled 290 feet, but distance wasn’t the only thing that stood out about the hit.

Aydin did it while wearing a pair of yellow rancher gloves.

All Little League World Series regional games were broadcast on ESPN+. Aydin’s bombshell went viral on Twitter almost immediately for three reasons: the home run distance, the fact that he was from Wyoming, and of course, the yellow rancher gloves.

Barstool Sports posted Jeffress’ home run on Twitter with the caption, “Wyoming kid wears work gloves and bangs bombs. Grob.” The account has over four million followers on the social media platform.

The video spread like wildfire across the internet, hitting platforms like ESPN, MLB.com and USAToday to name a few. It wasn’t long before friends and family called Aydin’s mother, Jill, to share the news of her son’s skyrocketing internet fame.

“It took 19 hours for it to go viral, we found that out,” Jill said. “We came back to the Airbnb and someone called me and said, ‘Your son is all over the news here.'”

“It was a little weird,” Aydin said. “Usually a Hawaii kid or a Texas kid does the news, not a Wyoming kid.”

Aydin – nicknamed “The Horse” – played in about 80 games this summer between the Little League, Little League All-Stars, Fall Ball and the Gillette Bulldogs, a traveling team that eventually feeds into the American Legion Roughriders. This month’s LLWS regional tournament wasn’t the first time he broke out the yellow ranching gloves at the plate.

Aydin tore several pairs of traditional batting gloves during his grueling 80-game baseball season. Eventually, trainer John Copping threw him a pair of work gloves hoping they would withstand the stress of Aydin’s wild swing.

Aydin hit eight homers between the All-Stars District and the Wyoming State Tournament. It’s safe to say the gloves got stuck.

“These are Wolverine, leather ranch gloves,” Aydin said. “They don’t tear.”

Aydin’s powerful swing earned him the trophy for first place in Wyoming’s home run derby at the state tournament last month. He hit 22 home runs in the contest, some of which found their way to the junkyard behind the fences of Dalbey Memorial Park.

“I’ve seen him hit so many I can just hear it,” Jill said. “I don’t even need to see it. When I hear it, I just know.”

A local celebrity

It didn’t take long for the video to spread at Gillette. The video has nearly six million views on Barstool Sport’s Twitter account since it was uploaded on August 12.

Aydin returned from California with his teammates after Gillette was eliminated from the regional tournament. Though the 12-year-old didn’t make it to the LLWS in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, he was immediately hailed for his newfound celebrity status.

“We couldn’t go through junior high orientation without being stopped about 30 times,” Jill said. “The funniest thing was that one of Twin Spruce’s coaches came up to him during orientation and said, ‘Are you the big son of a gun that hit that ball in California?'”

Aydin doesn’t think much about the two-run shot that made him famous on Twitter. He just wanted to beat Utah and get promoted to the LLWS.

“I just wanted to establish good contact with him,” Aydin said. “And I did.”

Aydin’s home run hit the phone of another outstanding Wyoming state athlete. Brandon Nimmo, the starting midfielder for the New York Mets, immediately reached out to Aydin and his family after seeing the video.

Nimmo grew up in Cheyenne and played for the Cheyenne Sixers before being drafted in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft.

“He uses Bruce Bolt’s (punching) gloves in games and he sent me his model,” Aydin said. “In the packages you can open it and see he signed them all.”

Seeing Nimmo’s signature show up in a package addressed to him was one of the highlights of finding internet fame, Aydin said.

“I’ve watched Brandon Nimmo play for ages,” Aydin said.

“It was a huge compliment,” said Jill.

There’s a lot of baseball left

Aydin’s dream of playing for the LLWS in Williamsport ended when Gillette was eliminated at the regional tournament. This year was his final year of qualifying for All-Stars, and next year he will advance to the next tier of the Roughriders’ travel program.

Regardless of what gloves he wears going forward, Aydin still has plenty of home runs to hit. He looks forward to one day cleaning the fences at Hladky Memorial Stadium in a Roughriders uniform.

Jill said that the best part of her son’s internet fame was seeing the encouraging messages from strangers on the internet. While Wyoming has its own stigmas and stereotypes when it comes to claiming the national spotlight, Aydin’s home run was a true reflection of what hard work and mental toughness can do both on and off the field.

“I think it was one of those things that a lot of people could relate to,” Jill said. “That was the true definition of the working class.”

As for his baseball career, Aydin expects to one day play Dingers at the major league level.

“I want to go to MLB,” Aydin said.

“And we want him to play in college first,” Jill said.

The biggest lesson for Aydin from the whole experience is to stay humble and keep his dark mentality. While his home run made national headlines, Jill knows it’s up to her son to keep up the hard work even when the internet inevitably moves to the next highlight.

“I keep telling him not to let this go to his head,” Jill said. “But it’s really, really good encouragement and a huge compliment. He just has to keep doing what he’s doing.”

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