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Ballistic cup protects Pena from hard hit, ‘Armored ‘Nutshellz’ grows in demand

ST. LOUIS - A local Cardinals fan`s invention is hitting a home run with professional baseball teams across the country ever since Yadier Molina`s groin injury.

We told you the Cardinals reached out to the fan, inquiring about the ballistic cups he produces, to provide better protection for its players.

Not only are other teams taking note but the ballistic cup proved itself when Cardinals catcher Francisco Pena took a hit during Wednesday’s game against the Kansas City Royals.

It was a hit we've seen in baseball all too often but we've never seen a reaction quite like Pena's. He fell to the ground but got up almost immediately. His coach ran to him and then you saw Pena knock on his cup and laugh with the coach.

Yadier Molina's hit to the groin earlier in May put him out for 4 weeks. At the time, the founder of ‘Armored Nutshellz’, a St. Louis company, said the Cardinals bought a handful of his bullet stopping Kevlar cups to better protect its catchers.

After Wednesday's game, Pena spoke highly of his new Kevlar cup.

“I just got that new Kevlar cup,” said Francisco Pena, Cardinals catcher. “So, it just shocked me a little bit but not bad at all.”

‘Armored Nutshellz; founder, Jeremiah Raber, is happy to see his product proven and in high demand since Fox2 aired the initial story.

“Every day we`re getting more and more, so it`s pretty exciting,” said Raber.

His list of clients has grown from the Indians, Orioles, and Cardinals to now include the Rangers, Rays, Padres, A's, Yankees, Brewers, Giants and The University of North Carolina.

“Mostly infield guys, definitely catchers, some of the biggest in baseball,” said Raber.

And soon it could be on some of our nation's bravest. Raber said a large government agency reached out to talk about the cups. He introduced them to his newest patent-pending product - a rifle plate cup. Up until now, he says there’s never been a groin protector that can stop a rifle round. He says the government agency is currently field testing one of those rifle plates.