St. Charles East baseball started a quality southpaw in Nick Huskisson on Saturday in the IHSA Class 4A sectional final at East, but it's no insult to Huskisson to say a more decorated Saints lefty toed the rubber first.
Saints alum and current Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Matt Reynolds threw out a ceremonial first pitch, then watched the first few innings of East's eventual 5-3 triumph against Wheaton North.
A 2003 East graduate, Reynolds said his strong ties to East's coaching staff of head coach Len Asquini and assistants Mark Foulkes and Max Payleitner motivated him to trek to St. Charles on Saturday morning ahead of the Diamondbacks' night game at Wrigley Field.
"Len, he was my coach when I was here," Reynolds said. "Played with Max (Payleitner), he was a teammate of mine. Mark Foulkes was also one of my coaches, so the people that were here when I was here are still around. It's fun to get back and see some friendly faces and cheer on the old squad."
The cameo came together quickly after Asquini touched base with Reynolds following the Saints' sectional semifinal win Wednesday against Lake Park.
"It was wonderful to have Matt out here," Asquini said. "I'm so happy that he made arrangements. It certainly was inconvenient for him but he got out here for a couple innings. That was awesome, and the kids really appreciated it. They were pretty fired up about it."
Watching a high school game must have felt strange to Reynolds considering his current baseball existence, right?
"Not really," Reynolds said. "Baseball's baseball. You kind of look for the same things. You see different situations and think of what they're going to do, what you would do, and kind of self-manage in your head."
Reynolds' first pitch before the game drew skimmed the dirt and drew some derisive hoots, but more pertinently for Reynolds, he's faring just fine against major league hitters. Entering play Saturday, he sported a sparkling 1.16 ERA in 26 appearances in his first season with Arizona after previously pitching for Colorado.
"It's been going good," Reynolds said. "We're playing pretty good baseball. I'm healthy and throwing the ball pretty well, so I'll take it."