By Mitch Lehman
San Marino Tribune
J.J. Franklin, San Marino High School’s head varsity baseball coach, gets a break every time he fills out the Titans’ lineup card. As long as he properly spells the last name of twin brothers Sebastian and Michael Liquori, Franklin is about 20% of the way finished with the task.
Michael Liquori, who pitches, leads the team in innings pitched with 46 and Sebastian Liquori, the Titans’ catcher, has started a team-high 13 games at that position. Michael has also held opponents to just 1.52 earned runs per contest as the Titans have forged to a 13-3 record.
“I started playing when I was 4 years old,” said Sebastian Liquori, who said he likes catching because “you are the most active player on the field and you get to touch the ball on every play.”
The catcher says that being a twin helps both of the brothers.
“We have a special bond,” he said. “I have been doing this since we were 4 years old, and I can tell before the ball leaves his hand where it is going. I notice things about him that I don’t see in other pitchers: How the ball is coming out of his hand and where it is going.”
One might imagine that teenage twin boys also have slightly higher standards for each other, and the Liquoris are no different.
“Last week against Temple City, Michael’s curveball wasn’t working real well and I said, You are going to have to figure this out!”
The pitching twin says he sometimes feels the catcher could do a little better job of “framing” some of his pitches,” a catching technique where the catcher makes pitches “look” like strikes instead of balls.
“But I am not a catcher, what do I know about that?” Michael Liquori said.
But the advantages far outweigh the negatives. The catching twin has thrown out 33% of the baserunners who are trying to steal and the pitcher has struck out 27 batters.
The twins are in unison about the Titans’ fortunes this season.
“It is going real well,” said Sebastian Liquori. “We are so close to one another, we are like a bunch of guys hanging out at a park. I really feel like we have something special going on this season.”
Michael Liquori agrees.
“On and off the field we are just a bunch of buddies,” he said. “We are like one big family out there.”
The Liquori brothers have one key task that has been taken off their plate. Their coach calls all the pitches for the squad.
All the Liquoris have to do is glance at a wristband that tells them where the pitch will be.
“I was a little iffy about it at first, but it is working,” said Sebastian Liquori.
Being a catcher offers him a slight advantage as a hitter.
“I can see the ball spin a little better,” he said.
Though the Liquori brothers are about to graduate, their baseball story will continue. Last month, Sebastian and Michael Liquori signed letters of intent to continue their baseball careers at Hendrix College in Arkansas, so coach R.J. Thomas will have the privilege of entering the name “Liquori” on the Warriors’ lineup card.