Newest Silver Knight feels right at home
The text messages were back and forth much of the spring.
Bryce Reagan always wanted to know how his former high school team and coach were doing.
“I missed him a lot, I missed all the coaches,” the former Souhegan standout and newest Nashua Silver Knight said of the now retired Bill Dod, whose incredible 50 year career ended Thursday. “I liked his attitude, his wisdom of the game. He’s been around for 50 years now, coaching. It’s unbelievable.”
Unbelievable and so admirable. Thus, the retired coach has spent one the last couple of days at baseball games. He and his wife Sandy went and saw the team that eliminated the Sabers, Hanover, in Saturday’s quarterfinals. And he was at Holman Stadium on Sunday to see Reagan.
“I’m excited to see my former shortstop play,” Dod said. “It’s exciting for him to get back to the game and go to the University of Texas.
“He and his parents are looking for him to have a wonderful experience at Austin. And the University of Texas is excited to bring him on campus.”
And the Silver Knights were excited to have Dod in the house and Reagan in the lineup. Dod was introduced to the crowd and got a great ovation during Sunday night’s game vs. Brockton, and Reagan, who spent the year at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., started at shortstop for the Knights batting seventh.
Dod’s trademark phrase has always been “Have fun today.” Reagan says that’s the best advice his former coach ever gave him.
“I would say just enjoy every day, just make sure you have fun with the game,” Reagan said.
The Silver Knights were thrilled to have both in the house on Sunday.
“(Reagan) is going to fit in good, this will be a real good experience for him,” Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett said. “He’s a very talented player. When I saw Bryce play in high school last year, he was very athletic. We’re happy he’s here.”
Now Neverett has been coaching 34 years. Think he’d ever make it to 50 years?
“No,” the former unified Nashua and Nashua South coach said with a grin, . “But I was thinking about this today. I had 256 wins in 17 years. If I stayed through 50 I would beat him (549 wins).”
Then he chuckled. “I would’ve left and gone to Bedford, or Exeter, or Pinkerton (which just so happen to be the top three seeds in Division I).”
No, Dod’s record will likely never be broken in our lifetime. But maybe Reagan, who was great in the field on Sunday, will set some records of his own.
“I wanted to just stay home, so I can see my family before I leave for school,” Reagan said.
In fact, Reagan has basically informed Major League clubs not to bother to draft him. “I set my (signing bonus) number really high because I wanted to go to school.”
IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.was a dream come true for the former Saber, who hit around .350 splitting time between short and second and says he made the right decision to leave Souhegan for a year of prep. Wouldn’t you like to be outside playing baseball every day?
“It was a great experience, everything was awesome,” Reagan said. “The weight training was great, the fields were great, and there was great competition.”
“It’s definitely to my advantage to see some live arms before I go down to school,” Reagan said.
Dod, like any coach, has been reliving the Sabers’ preliminary round loss to Hanover. But you can expect to see him at a game next spring near you.
“We’re going to have a car and a couple of chairs,” he said. “You’ll see Sandy and I at a lot of Division I and II baseball games in Southern New Hampshire.”
But it won’t be the same without Dod in a uniform. Reagan knows that New Hampshire baseball won’t be as good without Dod coaching.
“No one will have as much wisdom,” he said. “That’s what he brings to the table. …
“He still holds a special place in my heart.”
And now they have another thing in common. Sadly, they’re now both former Sabers.