Delvison Reyes, like his father, has a unique first name.
The Eastside senior also aims to take a unique path to professional baseball – at least, as far as his family is concerned.
The ace of the Ghosts’ rotation led his team to one of North Jersey’s most noteworthy upsets in the first round of the NJSIAA tournament on Monday. Reyes (5-3) threw four innings of one-hit ball to help No. 12 seed Eastside past No. 5 Hackensack, 11-2, and into Thursday’s North 1, Group 4 quarterfinals against No. 4 Ridgewood.
That was the right-hander’s second win against a Group 4 playoff qualifier this spring. In the May 7 Johnny Briggs Classic, he held eventual-Passaic County champion Passaic Tech to one run in 5⅔ innings and struck out nine to key a 6-3 Eastside upset. The Bulldogs are the No. 1 seed in North 1, Group 4 and entered the postseason at 21-3.
After the latter victory, Delvison spoke about learning the game from his father, Argenis Reyes, who played second base for the Mets in 2008 and later spent two seasons with the New Jersey Jackals.
“He’s showed me how to hit any play the infield,” Delvison said. “But I don’t like [the infield], so I started pitching.”
So far, it seems a wise move. The younger Reyes averages better than a strikeout per inning – he had 50 through his first 25 innings pitched this year – and at the season’s midpoint, opponents were hitting .121 against him.
Delvison, like his father, was born in the Dominican Republic. Yet he did not move to America until age 10, after Argenis retired.
The elder Reyes began playing pro baseball in 2003 and would go home during the offseason to play in the Dominican Winter League, where he was once named Rookie of the Year.
NorthJersey.com contacted Argenis by phone after Eastside’s big state-tournament win on Monday. Although his English is limited, close friend Robinson Garcia was able to translate and reveal the origin of Delvison’s name.
“When I was in the minor leagues, I played with a lot of people, and I had a lot of friends with that name,” Reyes said through Garcia. “I liked it, so I gave it to my son.”
Father also gave his take on son’s favorite position in the field.
“[Delvison] did like to play the infield, but he likes to pitch because he has more promise being a pitcher [professionally],” Argenis said.
Argenis Reyes now lives in Jersey City. His work as a barber keeps him busy on weekends, so he was unable to attend the Sunday win over Passaic Tech, but he and Delvison talk frequently.
There was much to discuss after that game, arguably Reyes’ best start this season. He mixed his two-seam fastball and slider well and had a chance to complete six innings, reaching the 110-pitch NJSIAA limit on the third batter of the frame. Angel Amezquita then poked a changeup to center for a base hit.
“He really wanted to get [Amezquita] out,” Eastside coach Jose Rojas said. “They hadn’t been squaring him up all day, so he just wanted to get something to give the guys a chance behind him.”
The Johnny Briggs Classic, named for one of two Eastside grads to reach the majors (along with Larry Doby), originally was scheduled to be the opening event for renovated Hinchliffe Stadium – now the Jackals’ home ballpark.
Construction delays forced the tournament to move to William Paterson, but as fate would have it, Reyes received a chance to make Hinchliffe history anyway.
The Pride of Paterson
Rojas, a 2004 Eastside graduate, once enjoyed the honor of playing the first baseball game in a restored Paterson ballpark. He was the starting DH when the Ghosts played the first game at refurbished Larry Doby Field in Eastside Park on June 1, 2002. Doby, who died a year later, was on hand for the ribbon cutting.
“I remember like it was yesterday, Rojas said. “The grass was so high that, you’d hit a liner up the middle, and the ball barely got past the pitcher.”
On May 17, the Ghosts’ coach got to hand the ball to his ace when Reyes became the first high school pitcher to take the Hinchliffe Stadium mound since 1997. Although powerhouse Don Bosco dealt Reyes his third loss of the season, he regrouped well for his postseason debut five days later.
“He’s got potential,” Rojas said. “I was telling [Jackals VP] Bobby Jones [at the Johnny Briggs Classic], if I was a professional scout looking for a pitcher – second-generation baseball player, his father was a major-leaguer – I would definitely take a chance on him. Not because he’s my kid, but just because I know what he brings.”
As senior year winds down, Delvison is still deciding on his next steps, though his plans are simple.
“I want to play pro,” he said. “If not, I’ll go to college.”
Either way, he has the firm support of a former big-league player.
“He’s got a bright future in front of him,” Argenis Reyes said of his son. “So, I’m thinking he can make it to the major leagues.”
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Delvison Reyes: Paterson NJ baseball star’s dad played for NY Mets
Source: Yahoo Sports