Bat-trick video makes global rounds
Katelyn Pavey was restless and bored.
Two days after a minor surgery to remove a cyst on her tail-bone, the Lanesville student-athlete was begging to go outside.
A few days later, she became an Internet sensation.
Inspired by a video posted by Marisa Arriaga of Texas, Pavey, a lead-off hitter and outfielder, wanted to try a variation of a softball bat trick.
Starting with the bat on the ground, Pavey flipped the bat to her right hand and began a series of juggling tricks. She bounced the bat on the ground then tossed it behind her back, then kicked the base of a tee that was holding a softball, then kicked the ball while gravity pulled it toward the ground, then, with the ball just high enough to emulate a soft-toss, Pavey swung her stick and sent the ball flying down her yard.
‘I wanted to see if I can do this,’ Pavey said. ‘I went outside and just did it. I’ve done the bouncing of the bat on the ground and different flips before but not the tee part. That was the hardest part.’
So hard, in fact, that the first time Pavey tried it, she kicked herself in the face with the softball.
Four tries later, she crushed the ball mid-air.
Pavey, who was born with an abbreviated left arm, did the trick only using her feet, right hand and syncing together various tricks.
The route the video took went fast. She showed family at first, then a post to her personal Instagram account, an online photo and video social networking application. A teammate on her Derby City Crush travel softball team, Avery Clark, posted it on her Twitter account.
After retaking the initial video, Pavey turned to WLKY’s Lexy Scheen. Less than a month ago, Scheen did a feature story about Pavey excelling at softball despite having one arm.
‘I just wanted her to check it out and to keep in touch,’ Pavey said. ‘I wasn’t looking for exposure, but it took off.’
Scheen, a morning anchor at the Louisville news station, aired the video and posted it on her Facebook account.
‘Katelyn sent the email to me thanking me for the story we did with her several weeks ago and said she thought I might like to see the video,’ Scheen said. ‘She sent it around 11 p.m. on Aug 27, and we stuck it in on a quick whim for our 5 a.m. sports block. I then took the video and posted it on my professional Facebook and Twitter pages. That’s literally all I did to promote it.’
Since then, 13 million people have viewed the video on Scheen’s Facebook page. Countless other websites ‘ Fox Sports, ESPN, Sports Illustrated ‘ and newspapers from Germany and China have mentioned Pavey’s juggling act.
‘I was surprised,’ Pavey said. ‘I was interviewed for an article by ESPN and a staffer from the Ellen DeGeneres show called me. That was overwhelming.’
Scheen said she typically gets 25 to 30 likes on story videos she posts. When Pavey’s story was liked more than 117,000 times and shared 244,000 times, she was amazed how quickly it moved.
‘I was blown away by the response but also so grateful,’ Scheen said. ‘Katelyn is so humble and absolutely impressive. She deserves every bit of recognition, and I’m sure this is not the last we see of Katelyn.’
Scheen’s number of Facebook fans has nearly doubled since the posting (about 1,500 to 2,600).
The outreach of a program called NubAbility helped calm down the media hype.
‘The coolest part was when the organization run by Sam Kuhnert reached out to me,’ Pavey said of NubAbility. ‘He has a missing left hand and now has camps for kids that have lost limbs or other body parts. It helps show kids they can get around and play different sports.’
The conversation led to an offer.
‘He’s asked me to come to the camp and coach softball to kids,’ Pavey said. ‘I’ll go (Sept. 26) to St. Louis to teach kids how to hit and do glove transfers. I’ll go to Florida next summer to teach basketball and other sports. That’s the awesome part because I want to coach when I get older.’
Initially, Pavey’s parents ‘ Eric, a teacher at Lanesville, and Salena ‘ didn’t care much for the video or see the reason for posting on social media. That was until the opportunity to help others presented itself.
‘If I wouldn’t have posted the video, I wouldn’t have been contacted by NubAbility,’ Pavey said.
Since the video, which was filmed by her younger sisters Sydney and Mackenzie in exchange for homework assistance, Pavey has taken in the attention.
Jennie Finch, a gold medalist and retired softball player, tweeted the video. Drawing praise as well was a mention by Coach Kent Murphy, a Web character created by comedian Nick Hall, an Indianapolis native.
‘I’m OK with the attention, but I don’t feel any different. I did read some of the comments. Some are awesome, and others bashed me. I don’t understand that,’ Pavey said.
Pavey has tried to reach out to Arriaga, the creator of the video that inspired her, but hasn’t heard back.
Since the surgery, Pavey has returned to basketball conditioning, preparing for the upcoming Lanesville season. She has a few fall softball tournaments to play as well.