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Rookies Take Center Stage with First Pitch
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Jason Verrett, Jerry Attaochu and Chris Watt took their spot in the stadium, greeted by thousands of San Diego fans watching their every move.
But this wasn’t the field at Qualcomm Stadium. Instead, it was the mound at Petco Park as the Chargers’ top three draft choices threw out the first pitch prior to the Padres game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“This was an absolute dream come true,” said Watt, who played first base in high school before concentrating fully on football. “It was great to be out there. This is a sport I loved growing up. I would get up at 6:00am and throw the ball with my dad in the yard, so it was cool to be out there again. This was definitely a dream of mine. I used to go to a lot of Cubs games when I was younger, and I always wanted to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game.”
Attaochu had the same reaction coming off the mound.
“That was awesome,” he said. “I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d get a chance to do this. I’ll always remember it.”
Prior to taking the mound, the Bolts were given a special tour of the locker room by the Padres’ Andrew Cashner. The star pitcher gave each player one of his gloves before guiding them to the batting cages so the trio could warm up for their big pitch.
“That was a cool experience,” Verrett said. “I’d never been in a baseball locker room before, so it was definitely a great experience. And Cashner was great. He really welcomed us so that meant a lot.”
Petco Park was rocking as the fans eagerly anticipated the next installment of the Padres-Dodgers rivalry. Having the Bolts throw out the first pitch added to the atmosphere, and the rookies were appreciative of the warm welcome.
“That was really cool to get that ovation,” said Watt. “It’s been a long process, but San Diego is really starting to feel like home. That kind of response is what you want. I love it here.”
Verrett echoed those exact sentiments.
“This has been a real good opportunity to get to know these fans a bit more,” he said. “I got to meet them and sign a few autographs. They’ve been real supportive so I appreciate that.” Read