Gov. Nathan Deal visited the stadium early Monday evening to throw the first pitch at the baseball game against the Wildcats.
"I practiced yesterday," said Deal in an interview with Norcross Patch. "I realized how far it is from the pitcher's mound to home plate. It seems much further than it used to be."
Deal still performed a decent pitch, which was caught by Blue Devils pitcher Chris Raasch (and can be seen in the Patch video to the right).
"I think it's good to encourage young people, and certainly, baseball is one of those great activities that our schools have," said Deal.
Other noteworthy guests included State Rep. Brooks Coleman, the chairman of the House Education Committee; State Rep. Tom Rice; Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason; Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, District III board member for Gwinnett County Public Schools; GCPS Area Superintendent Jonathan Patterson, former principal of NHS; and Mike Emory, director of atletics for GCPS.
The governor was invited to game by Raasch's mother, Christel Raasch, who is the assistant clerk for the Georgia House of Representatives. Christel Raasch asked him to come in recognition of her son, a star baseball player who plans to attend Vanderbilt University after he graduates this spring.
"It's an honor to have the governor," said Chris Raasch. "He's the No. 1 guy in the state."
Head Coach Jonathan Wyman said Vanderbilt is lucky to have Chris Raasch.
"He knows the game inside and out," said Wyman. "He knows how to read hitters when he's pitching. He knows how to read hitters when he's in the field. Offensively, he knows how to play the situation."
Wyman added that his batting is noteworthy, too. "He's got a lot of pop," he said. "He's hit some of the hardest balls I've ever seen here in VP."
Raasch has been leading the team in innings this season so far, which only has about seven games left. His pitching skills aren't reflected in this year's numbers because of minor errors that have caused him to lose a win, said Wyman.
On top of everything, though, Wyman calls his star athele's work ethic "lighthearted but very passionate."
"One of the stats they don't show is selflessness, in which he does a very good job of sacrificing himself for the betterment of the team to get a guy in the scoring position," Wyman said.
Norcross won the game 5-2.