Reynolds plays 9 in 9
By Matt Rawlings
If you were to see Storm baseball player Jake Reynolds in the hallways at Chemeketa, you would probably think that he is a normal guy.
You’d notice that he is friendly with everyone he interacts with and is often surrounded by other students, especially women, when he’s at other Chemeketa events.
Reynolds isn’t a loud talker and doesn’t have a big personality.
Reynolds also won’t wow you with his physical presence and his 5-foot 10-inch, 165-pound frame, although he does walk with the swagger of a college baseball player.
Reynolds didn’t put up staggering numbers this season, batting just over .200 with three doubles and 15 runs scored.
Reynolds, by all accounts, is an ordinary guy and an ordinary baseball player.
But on May 14, Reynolds’ last home game of his Chemeketa career, he did something extraordinary.
The sophomore, who usually starts at second base, had no idea before the game that he was about to pull off one of the rarest athletic feats in any level of sports.
Reynolds played all nine field positions in a single game against Southwestern Oregon, something that many of the greatest baseball players in the world have never done.
“Before the game, Coach Pratt told me that it was going to be a fun day for me, and I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant. But after the second inning, I had it figured out,” Reynolds said.
“Up until that point, I had played all the positions on the field at one point or another, except for shortstop, center field, and pitcher. I guess he just wanted me to cross them off the list.”
Reynolds’ incredible versatility was recognized early by Storm coach Nathan Pratt.
“We decided to play Jake in all nine positions in a single game as a way to honor his willingness throughout his career here to do anything to help the team,” Pratt said.
“Jake exemplifies selflessness. He always puts the team’s needs above his own.”
Reynolds started the game at second base and saw action right away. In the first inning, he threw out the SWOCC No. 2 hitter at first on a hard ground ball. Later in the inning, he recorded an out at second base on a fielder’s choice.
Reynolds recorded another two outs at shortstop in the second inning when he threw out a runner at first on a routine ground ball and was the recipient of another force-out toss at second.
Reynolds didn’t see any action in the third inning at third base, but he recorded two more putouts in the fourth inning when he was placed at first base.
In the fifth inning, Reynolds was moved to the outfield after playing all the infield positions in the first four innings.
Reynolds didn’t see any action in left field. But he made a nice running catch in right field in the sixth inning, and he made another catch in the seventh inning while playing center field.
In the eighth inning, Reynolds got the opportunity put the gear on and lined up at catcher. And in the ninth inning, he was sent to the mound to pitch for the first time in his Chemeketa career.
Even though Reynolds was incredibly inexperienced on the mound, he plowed right through the heart of the SWOCC order.
Reynolds got the SWOCC No. 2 hitter to fly out to right field on the first pitch of the ninth.
After working the count to full on the next SWOCC batter, Reynolds threw an off-speed pitch to strike him out swinging for the second out of the inning.
After throwing three straight balls to the SWOCC cleanup hitter, Reynolds was able to come back and force him into a game-ending groundout, which completed the feat.
“It was really awesome to play all nine positions. I enjoyed the excitement and anticipation of every inning leading into the next position and the next play” Reynolds said.
“It was special to play all nine positions on sophomore day. It was a great way to spend my last home game at Chemeketa, and it was a great salute to all the time and hard work invested the past two years.”
Reynolds’ feat not only is incredibly rare, but it also shows off his versatility.
“Jake’s athleticism and belief in himself has allowed him to succeed wherever he played. He has an excellent understanding of the game, which has allowed him to be extremely versatile,” Pratt said.
“Jake is a true warrior. He is willing to make great sacrifices to help his teammates. He is a quality young man with exceptional character. We will miss having him and his versatility next year.”
Only five players in the history of major league baseball played all nine positions in one game, none in this millennium, which is another thing that makes Reynolds accomplishment so rare.
“In my 15 years of being involved in college baseball, I have never seen anyone do what Jake did,” Pratt said.
During the course of his career, Reynolds has not hit towering home runs or put up staggering numbers. But he has left a significant impression on the Chemeketa baseball program, and it may be years before another Chemeketa baseball player accomplishes what Reynolds did in his final home game as a member of the Storm.