The title of this post may come across as a little sad and final. My oldest two boys have been playing as teammates since their competitive team was casually created back in 2007, when Jack was in second grade and Ben was just in first. The core of the team has stayed together for 5 consecutive seasons. The boys have played one U-9, two U-11 and two U-13 seasons together. Having the two boys play together has been good in so many ways. Logisitically, having them both at the same practices and games has been a dream, especially when their brother and sister started having activities. But my boys have played so well together as teammates and friends. They play different positions and have different skills. They support each other and compete together. They played infield together and have batted in the line up next to each other. Jack has carried Ben's glove and bat in his bag, and Ben has been responsible for bringing the waters. It has just worked. We have been blessed. And I have been blessed with many photo opportunities, including one that won me an award.
The little boys have grown into little men. But now Jack has to play U-15 on the 90 foot diamond and it doesn't make sense to have Ben play with 14 and 15 year olds when he'll be just turning 12. He needs to stay with his own age group, finally. Luckily, he'll be transitioning to a team full of his friends, along with two other teammates who are staying down in the U-13 age group. So although it's a change, it'll be a good one for Ben.
So their last season together for a while was a good one. There team was very competitive and ended up with a record of 18-4-2, which landed them in second place in their division. The team was unbeatable defensively, only allowing 61 runs in 24 games. Their bats are what held them from taking the division. They scored 155 runs, which was the sixth most of the 13 teams in the division. We all took for granted that the boys would without question go to States this season and maybe even Regionals. But the boys lost a heart-breaker in the opening game of regular season play-offs, and it all came to an unexpectedly quick ending. The good news is that we had Cooperstown to look forward to (a whole other post!) and a tourny to play in before that.
I have many photos of each of the boys but I've selected some of my favorites of each. Ben, still playing 2nd base and outfield. Still quick on his feet and stealing bases. Although trying to escape a pick-off in the first picture below. Still has a biiiiig swing and still always give his 110%.
Jack stayed true to himself again this season. Very passionate, focused and committed. Very reliable and versatile. He played wherever he was asked, but spent most of his time at short stop, catcher and occasionally pitcher. He had a consistently good batting season.
And I love the opportunity to photograph the boys together. Those photos have been some of my favorites over the years and I will miss this for a few years. Here are some 'baseball brother' photos from the past season.
Even though they weren't division, state or regional champions, they were winners in my book. I will not miss a game if I don't have to! Next year will be very challenging with the boys on different teams. But next year's 'baseball brothers' photos will have to be cheering each other on instead of backing up throws or infield partners. It's all still good in my book.