When Issaquah head baseball coach Rob Reese was inducted into the Hall of Fame during the past offseason, he talked about facing his son Todd on the diamond as a member of rival Newport.
“It’s an awkward feeling,” he said at the time, recalling an at bat from the 2013 season.
Wednesday, as the Eagles and Knights met in the latest installment of their rivalry on the diamond, things may have gotten slightly more uncomfortable.
Not only did Todd Reese get the start on the mound for Newport, going five innings and allowing four runs, three earned, on four base hits. With the game tied in the sixth inning, he delivered the game-winning RBI on a single to score Brian Setijono in a 5-4 win.
“It was probably the weirdest feeling I’ve had as a coach,” Rob said. “You’re obviously happy for him, and disappointed our team didn’t finish the way we should have.”
Todd finished with two base hits, two RBI and a walk at the plate, and while he did not get a decision for his work on the mound, struck out three batters in his five innings of work.
Issaquah left seven runners on base in the loss, and got RBI from Derek Chapman and Ty Gibson.
Ryan Peart worked four innings and allowed three runs to take the loss, while Knights’ reliever Nick Rudholm got the win after working two shutout innings with a pair of strikeouts.
But the story of the afternoon was the matchup between father and son, one that was amplified when the Knights tabbed Todd as their starter on the hill.
“We knew the day before, and it was kind of mixed feelings,” Rob said. “When we got off to the great start, I was excited for our team and I didn’t feel great for Todd. Then things kind of turned his way.”
Rob said the impact was felt beyond he and Todd, as his own parents, wife, and other child were left with split allegiances. While the day was certainly full of highlights for Todd, a junior, his father said there was no gloating in the Reese household.
“He didn’t want to say a lot,” Rob said. “I told him he had a great game, and I was proud of him. He hung in there and battled, as a dad, you’re proud of him. As a competitor, you wish he would save those days for someone else.”