Archive for March, 2009

Junior Varsity team finalized

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

The final twenty spots for the Junior Varsity team have been finalized. Good luck for a successful season.

# Name Year
12 Grant Kukuk 9
21 Chris Salas 9
33 Garrett Lopez 9
23 Lucas Stewart 10
5 Joe Muller 10
2 Alex Graybar 10
16 Austin Hardie 9
30 R.J. Bush 9
7 Kellen Richards 9
24 Matt Schneider 9
10 Zach Paquette 9
3 Tyler McElroy 9
28 Tanner Petrilla 9
23 Vinny Koci 9
18 Connor Draper 9
27 Daniel Hickox-Young 9
4 Mitch Warden 10
6 Robert Lujan 9
17 Nick Pappas 10
27 Colton Hampson 10


Ex-Huskies player returns to mound

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Guy Clifton in the debut of the ‘Good News Guy’ column
Posted on: 03/20/2009
Reno Gazette Journal

The only thing missing from Drew Simpson’s field of dreams was a cornfield.

On Thursday, Simpson toed the rubber of the pitcher’s mound at Reno High School’s Zunini Field and stared in at Huskies’ backup catcher Dylan Smith.

He didn’t need a sign to tell him what pitch to throw. He was bringing the gas.

“Dylan asked me before we went out there, ‘Should I put my gear on?'” said Simpson, 18, a 2008 Reno High graduate. “I told him, ‘Yeah. I don’t know where it’s going, but I’m going to throw it hard.'”

Before we tell you the result of that ceremonial first pitch, which took place before the Huskies’ game against Spanish Springs High School, we need to tell you that this is not a story about baseball.

This is about family and faith and grit and guts.

Seven months ago, Simpson was in a coma in Renown Regional Medical Center after suffering a fall at his brother’s home and hitting the his head on a concrete step. A CT scan at the hospital revealed severe damage to the front, back, left and right sides of his brain. Even after two surgeries to relieve the swelling, the outlook was grim, to say the least, and his family was advised to prepare for the worst. Doctors said there even was a chance that if he did survive, he would have permanent brain damage.

In that darkest hour however, no one gave up — not his parents, Scott and Janet; his brother, Ryan; his sister, Sarah; his coaches, teammates, friends and competitors, who visited the hospital by the hundreds.

And neither did Drew.

Eleven days after the injury, he woke up. Two days later, his eyes started tracking movement. Before long, he was flipping a foam ball given to him by his Reno High coach, Pete Savage, to visitors from his hospital bed. He had two subsequent surgeries to replace the pieces of his skull that were removed to ease swelling of his brain.

The recovery has been, at times, slow, painful, life-changing, miraculous and beautiful.

“Right now, I feel better than I’ve ever felt since the accident,” he said. “I can talk. I can remember things much better. I can do a lot of the things that I used to do. People can’t even tell.”

Simpson said he was excited to throw out the first pitch for his Reno High coaches and teammates.

“Coach Savage, Reno High, they were just there for me when I needed them,” he said. “It’s like a big family for me. It was really the biggest thrill I’ve had in a while.”

The feeling was mutual.

“This definitely transcends anything to do with the game of baseball,” Savage said. “It really taught us all many, many life lessons about dealing with adversity, sticking with your family, faith in God, all those life lessons that way transcend the game.”

So, what happened on that pitch on Thursday?

We’ll let Simpson, who plans to return to Feather River College to play baseball next year, tell you.

“I threw it, and I threw a strike,” he said. “It was just really exciting that I got to throw a strike again. It felt really great. It felt like a dream come true.”

Like a field of dreams.


Opening pitch was amazing sight for Reno

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Reno Gazette Journal

The Reno Huskies baseball team won, 4-3, in a tight game against Spanish Springs at Reno High on Thursday, but the game’s focus was on the ceremonial first pitch.

The first pitch was thrown by former Reno pitcher Drew Simpson. This past summer Simpson fell down a flight of stairs outside his brother’s house and hit his head, causing major trauma to his brain. He was given little chance to live let alone throw a baseball again.

Drew Simpson on the field Drew Simpson throwing opening pitch Drew Simpson after the game

On Thursday, he took the mound at Reno and delivered the game’s first pitch.

“It was a grateful day at our park,” Reno coach Pete Savage said. “It was amazing to see Drew out there and doing so well. He is a big part of our baseball family so it was a real special moment.”

Spanish Springs got its offense started early as Brandon Mathis knocked in a three-run homer in the second inning.

Reno’s Shawn Walters answered Mathis’ blast with a shot of his own in the third inning that plated three runs. Reno was able to scrap a run in the fifth inning to take a lead. Zach Sanford followed on the hill for Reno with three shut-out innings to close the game and seal the win.


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