With an astonishing seven sets of brothers in his baseball program, Anthony Wayne coach Mark Nell believes he has a severe case of sibling solidarity on his hands rather than sibling rivalry.
Nell has 44 total kids in his Generals program and one third of them are brothers. One pair play together on the varsity, three other individuals are on the varsity and the others are spread among the junior varsity and freshman teams.
We kind of joked around about it when we were younger, said junior Thomas Hertzfeld, a shortstop on the varsity whose brother Jordan is a center fielder on the freshman team. We knew we d all be here at the same time.
Nell, who has been coaching baseball for 21 years, said he s never seen anything like it. He said the 14 brothers have established a unique relationship where the older players eagerly help out the younger brothers.
I think our whole program is very tight knit. I think that has a lot to do with it, Nell said.
Freshman utility player Nate Sherman, who plays with his brother and outfielder Brock on the varsity, said the freshman and junior classes are particularly close.
We ve always hung out and played baseball together, Nate Sherman said. We ve grown up together. Now we ve finally grown up and we re playing together in the high school system. It s cool to be up here together.
Brock Sherman, a junior who is among the Generals offensive leaders with a .346 batting average, said it is the closest team he has ever seen.
We re like a bigger family, Brock Sherman said.
Sophomore varsity second baseman Allan Sliva said he often consults with his brother Jason, a junior outfielder on the junior varsity, at home after games.
Jason will critique me. He is a better teacher than me, Allan Sliva said. I can talk to him at home and see what he would do.
Jordan Hertzfeld also said his older brother helps him stay focused.
We re comfortable around each other and we can joke around a lot, Jordan said. Sometimes he is a little rough. But he is my older brother.
Nell said he likes the fact that the brothers will go home and talk about games.
Baseball can be such a negative game. It s a game of failure, really, Nell said. It s a mental game and I think it is good to be able to get something off your chest and talk about it.
Thomas Hertzfeld said he and his brother are a little harsher toward each other.
But that s never bad, he said. We just focus on what we need to work on.
Thomas and Jordan Hertzfeld said that they ve played Wiffle ball with the Shermans every summer for many years. They re often joined by current Anthony Wayne brothers and players Cody and Josh Stidham and Dan and Ryan Chipka.
Cody Stidham is a sophomore pitcher/outfielder who has seen some varsity action. Josh Stidham, a freshman pitcher/outfielder, plays on the JV.
Junior center/pitcher Dan Chipka is a varsity starter and his brother Ryan Chipka is a freshman infielder.
Andrew and Joe Campbell and Tim and Ryan Pedro are youngsters who look to carry on the sibling tradition at Anthony Wayne. Andrew Campbell and Tim Pedro are sophomores, while Joe Campbell and Ryan Pedro are freshmen.
Nell said if all goes as planned he could have eight sets of brothers in the program next year as well as the addition of another Chipka sibling.
I can foresee probably more of these brother combos being on the varsity next year, Nell said. But really they all seem like brothers.
Contact Mark Monroe at:firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-6110.