CHICAGO – He didn't bounce it.
Though his players were hoping for a good chuckle by seeing him bounce the ball to home plate, Lisle baseball coach Pete Meyer delivered a strike when he threw out the first pitch Monday at the Chicago Cubs game.
Maybe it was a little off the plate, but he got it there.
"I was worried I was going to throw it wide," Meyer said.
Meyer, assistant coach Jason Wiertel and members of Lisle Class 2A state champion baseball team were recognized for their achievement near home plate at Wrigley Field prior to the game. A few minutes later, Meyer strolled onto the mound to fire his best fastball. Prior to the event, the coach's players joked about him bouncing it to the catcher, but his pitch was closer to gas.
"I was happy he got it there," said Adam Grego, who graduated in the spring.
"It was good to see him whip it in there," the graduated Ryan Van Volkenburg said.
Meyer and legendary broadcast journalist Bill Kurtis were one of four people to throw a first pitch Monday. Meyer went first and showed some zip on his pitch. Kurtis went last and dribbled it into home plate.
"I think making fun of him for bouncing it in there would have been fun, but he probably had the best first pitch of anybody," Van Volkenburg said.
"He threw it hard," the graduated Alex Ventrella said. "I'm glad he threw a strike, but if he bounced it in there and made it on SportsCenter, I would have been one happy kid."
Being recognized at the Cubs game was just one part of a special day for the Lions. Lisle Mayor Joe Broda declared July 29, 2013, to be Lisle High School Baseball Day in the Village, and the Lions received the royal treatment in town before heading to the game.
Even when things went wrong, it was still all right. Incoming senior Bailey Welch lost his ticket, but Wiertel, who worked with the Cubs to coordinate the event, had an extra one ready to go. The Lions had nearly perfect attendance for the game. Only Bobby Hunt, who enlisted in the Army soon after graduation, and incoming senior Jeremy Glavanovits, who had to work, missed the event, which came close to matching the excitement of winning a state title.
"It's right up there at the top," Grego said. "As a little kid you dream of being on a big field. Winning a state title, coming here and celebrating with the team again is amazing."
"This is pretty cool. I can't help but smile," incoming senior Cliff Krause said. "But nothing will ever compare to winning a state title. The feeling I had then was amazing."