Who knew Cincinnati's Nick Senzel and STL's Ryan Helsley are friends? Lane Thomas, for one

Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley and Reds utility player Nick Senzel
Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley and Reds utility player Nick Senzel

The Cincinnati Reds' Nick Senzel and St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Ryan Helsley aren't from the same hometown, didn't go to college together and weren't teammates in the minors.

So why did Senzel refer to Helsley as his good buddy after hitting a game-winning sacrifice fly in the 10th inning against him Monday night at Great American Ball Park?

Bally Sports Ohio's Jim Day asked Senzel after the Reds' 6-5 win what his mindset was facing one of the toughest Major League Baseball relief pitchers.

"That's my boy, man," Senzel said. "Me and him are good buddies. Dammit he's good. And I knew he was gonna give everything that he had. A guy throwing that hard, man, you've just got to touch it a little bit. I'm sure he'll text me after the game and say, 'You son of a b----!' But I got him!"

Washington Nationals outfielder Lane Thomas appears to be a mutual friend.

Thomas starred at Bearden High School in Knoxville. Senzel starred at rival Farragut High School. They became best friends despite the rivalry and have remained close since both made their Major League Baseball debuts two weeks apart in 2019.

Thomas was drafted by the Cardinals and played parts of three seasons for St. Louis before he was traded to the Nats for pitcher Jon Lester in 2021. But he and Helsley were roommates during their time with the Cards, and Helsley made his MLB debut one day before Thomas did.

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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati's Nick Senzel and St. Louis' Ryan Helsley are good friends