By Ned Bekavac
The feeling of déjà vu is often an eerie one. But not always. Just ask John Murray.
A week after his son Ben pitched the Guelph Royals to an Ontario Baseball Association championship, John’s younger son, Jonathan, took to the mound in a bid to do the same.
Both pitchers went the distance in their championship-clinching wins, Ben for his midget AA Royals and Jonathan for his minor bantam AA Royals.
Ben gave up one earned run in his game, a 6-1 win for the Royals. And Jonathan – you guessed it – gave up one earned run in his game, a 5-1 victory for his Royals.
“I couldn’t believe it,” says John. “As (Jonathan’s) game got closer to the end I thought ‘Wow, just a week ago, I witnessed (Ben) doing it.’”
It’s enough of a long shot that brothers pitched in the games that clinched their respective teams’ provincial titles, never mind the similarities of the results.
“It’s a very proud moment. It’s one of these things that may never happen again,” says John, an assistant coach of the minor bantams.
The brothers, both students at John F. Ross CVI – Ben is in Grade 12, and Jonathan in 9 – have been playing ball since they were youngsters. They would spend lots of time in the park together “just throwing the ball around,” says Ben.
John describes the dynamic: “It’s good. They’re very competitive. The youngest feeds off the oldest and the oldest likes to knock on the youngest,” he says with a laugh.
Jonathan admits that he felt some extra pressure to produce when he got the call to pitch in the big game, because his brother was already an OBA champion.
“My brother went in and he pitched a complete game and won his OBAs. It feels pretty good (to win too),” he says of the victory.
Of course, as big brothers do, Ben gave Jonathan some jabs after he won his midget AA OBA title.
“I just kind of joked to him: ‘I got a ring, you better get one too,’” says Ben with a laugh.
After Jonathan’s tournament, Ben got a text message from mom that gave him the news – his little brother was an OBA champ, too.
“Great job,” was Ben’s reaction.
“They both pitched very well and I’m very proud of them,” says John.