Seven years ago, it was routine for Collin Balester and Hank Conger to discuss all aspects of the game on the Huntington Beach High baseball diamond.
Balester was a star on the mound for the Oilers and during the final two years of his prep career, it was Conger who provided the target for his pitches behind the plate. At the end of that 2003-04 school year — which included a successful 2004 season for the Oilers — Balester was drafted by the then-Montreal Expos. Conger, meanwhile, was getting ready to play summer ball before starting his junior year at Huntington.
The two have continually kept in contact through the years, keeping abreast of how the other was doing as each tried to carve out professional baseball careers. Monday turned out to be special for the pair: it marked the first time that Conger's and Balester's teams would meet on a major league baseball field.