GLENS FALLS — When Phoenix Hernandez returned to the middle of the infield for the Glens Falls Dragons earlier this month, he felt right at home.
Not just that he was back with the same host family for the summer, but he experienced a mini-reunion on the field.
All Hernandez had to do was look behind him to see former high school teammate Danny Ryan out in center field. Then he could glance over to the bullpen, where another high school buddy, Christian Allegretti, was warming up.
“It was kind of weird seeing Danny behind me, because it hasn’t happened in a couple of years,” said Hernandez, who plays shortstop and second base for the Dragons. “Any chance you can reunite with some of your best friends from home, it’s pretty cool.”
“It was incredible playing ball next to all your best friends in high school,” Ryan said, “and it’s special coming back out here after high school and playing with two of them.”
The trio were all teammates at Xaverian High School, a Catholic school in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn — Hernandez and Ryan are 2016 graduates, Allegretti graduated last year — but all three attend different colleges. Ryan plays Division I ball at Fairfield. Hernandez is at Southern New Hampshire and Allegretti attends St. Thomas Aquinas, both Division II schools.
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In fact, Hernandez and Allegretti play against each other in college.
“They actually beat us in the regional championship to go to the (D-II) World Series. So as of right now we’re not friends,” Allegretti said with a laugh before Tuesday’s game against Albany at East Field.
Glens Falls dropped a 3-2 loss to the first-place Dutchmen on Tuesday night.
All three players have made a major impact for the Dragons this summer. Ryan leads the team with a gaudy .362 batting average, 17 hits and 12 RBIs, including a walkoff three-run home run in Glens Falls’ home opener on June 3. Hernandez is a standout infielder and Allegretti, a lefty reliever, has three saves already.
“Phoenix and Danny are both 6-3 and athletic, run well. Danny has great range in the outfield,” Dragons head coach Cameron Curler said. “Danny’s been one of our more consistent hitters. He’s a grinder, he puts the ball in play when we need him to, comes up with some big hits. Phoenix is a guy who can play multiple positions and he’s put a jolt into a few balls as of late.”
Curler called Allegretti one of the team’s most consistent relievers.
“He pounds the zone with a variety of pitches, and he’s kind of a funky lefthander, definitely keeps hitters off-balance,” Curler said. “Christian pitched in 18 games as a freshman at St. Thomas Aquinas this year, so he’s a guy who’s comfortable in this role.”
Reuniting the trio in Glens Falls happened “basically by chance,” Curler said. When Curler was looking for players in the offseason, coaches at Fairfield and St. Thomas Aquinas reached out to him, and Curler noticed the high school connection between the three. They also got in touch with each other.
“Last fall, Danny contacted me and goes, ‘Hey, how’s Glens Falls,’ and I said, ‘It’s a great place to play, people actually care about you and the coaches are cool,’ and we knew we had an opportunity to play with each other,” Hernandez said.
“Then Chris called me and said, ‘Hey, I really need a summer team,’ and then coach Curler texts me at the same time, ‘What do you know about Chris Allegretti?’” Hernandez added.
The rest is history — a mini-reunion that has resulted in three players helping the Dragons to an 8-6 record so far this season.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Allegretti said. “We made a lot of memories in high school together, and now we’re back out here in college making memories again.”
Follow Pete Tobey on Twitter @PTobeyPSVarsity.