Castillo, Sanchez reunited in Reno after being teammates in Venezuela nearly 20 years ago

Published: Sep. 10, 2023 at 5:47 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - “In December when we figured out we were going to be together this year it was really good news for us.”

A quote from Reno Aces infielder Diego Castillo when he learned in the offseason he would be teammates with childhood friend Ali Sanchez.

Some 20 years after seeing each other for the first time an entire continent away, Castillo and Sanchez have been enjoying the 2023 season in Reno.

Sanchez took time to reflect on the time he joined up with Castillo in Venezuela as kids.

“His team was much better than mine and they won the championship. I went to be a part of their team.”

That encounter happened when the two were around nine years old - three years after competing against each other when they were about six.

The two grew up in separate towns in Venezuela - a distance of 63 miles. Sanchez, the Aces catcher, exclaimed there aren’t many Venezuelan-born players at the AAA level, so being teammates now with someone he knew back home is a crazy coincidence.

Some of their best baseball memories came as teammates playing travel ball back home.

“We went to Margarita, Venezuela and won a tournament. It was a special moment as a group,” Sanchez remembered as one of his favorite baseball memories with Castillo.

Both now have big league experience. They want to get called up to the Arizona Diamondbacks at some point after spending the year with the AAA affiliate.

Until then, they help each other on and off the field.

“We have a really good friendship,” said Castillo. “We try to get dinner or talk about something other than baseball. It gives us time to forget about baseball for a couple minutes.”