E.A. Sports Today

Brother battle

Deerman brothers David and Matt meet for the first time as varsity coaches, older brother David gets best of it in 4-2 win

New Piedmont baseball coach Matt Deerman goes over the ground rules with his older brother, Jacksonville coach David Deerman, before their first head-to-head matchup as varsity head coaches Tuesday.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT (Feb. 28)– Coaching brothers Matt and David Deerman are going to talk on the phone as they drive to their respective schools tomorrow, just like they do almost every day of the school year and, of course, the conversation is going to be baseball.

They’ll talk situations. They’ll talk strategy. They’ll talk personnel. They’ll talk about things that will make each of their teams better. They’ll even talk about Tuesday’s game between their teams, but there will be no gloating by the older brother who got another one.

“That’s never going to happen,” assures Jacksonville’s David Deerman, the older brother by nine years. “First time you start to do that you’re going to get your tail beat the next game.”

The brothers have gone against each other plenty of times before, but Tuesday marked the first time they swapped lineup cards as varsity coaching rivals and David, as he’s often done, got the best of it as his Golden Eagles edged Matt’s first Piedmont team 4-2.

It was a true family affair. Dad Mike arrived early and positioned himself strategically in the middle of the bleachers behind home plate pulling for both his sons to have success. Once the game started Jacksonville shortstop Brandt Deerman drove in two runs for his father’s team, singling home the second run of a two-run first inning and plating what proved to be the game-winning run with a sixth-inning infield out.

“It was pretty fun,” Brandt said. “I always love playing against him (Matt). I played against him in junior high football and stuff. It’s always fun to play against your family. It gives you something to talk about.”

And the brothers talk plenty. It’s almost always about baseball. When they get around to talking about Tuesday’s game – and both said this – the conversation will be more along the lines of what they saw that would make the other’s team better.

“We call each other all the time and ask each other for advice,” David said. “I want him to do well, obviously. When we play each other we obviously want to try to get one more run than they do, but we don’t hold stuff from each other.”

Actually, it’s the third time the brothers have matched wits against each other with their own teams. The other two were as junior high football coaches and David got them both; the first time both teams were undefeated and Jacksonville won on a pick-six.

“Throughout my whole life we’ve had situations like this,” Matt said. “It’s usually tougher on the people in the stands. I played against him as a player when he was an assistant, coached against him in junior high and coached against him in baseball as an assistant. There’s always tension, there’s always a little bit more want-to-win (when they face off), but at the same time it’s always bittersweet no matter what happens.”

This one was close throughout. Jacksonville wanted to jump out front early and did with two in the first and never lost the lead. Piedmont got it to 2-1 and 3-2, but each time the Golden Eagles matched the run in their next bats.

Piedmont scored in the fifth on Taylor Hayes’ sacrifice fly to make it 2-1; Jacksonville got it back in the sixth on Brandt Deerman’s infield out. The Bulldogs (0-3) scored in the sixth on Mason Mohon’s sacrifice fly after the runners moved up on a wild pitch and the Golden Eagles (3-1) got it back in the seventh on a double steal. Ace Colin Casey pitched the bottom of the seventh and made sure the Bulldogs didn’t get anything more.

“That was a good baseball game to watch,” David Deerman said. “I thought both sides played pretty well, both sides played hard. There’s not really a lot of difference in us and them. Everything was pretty much even; we just were fortunate enough to get two more runs.”

Matt gets a chance to get his brother back in the last game of the season.

Until then, they’ll keep talking.

“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” Matt said. “Even if we were mad about losing, we’re still brothers and that’s not going to change.”

Jacksonville 4, Piedmont 2
Jacksonville (3-1) 200 001 1 — 4 6 0
Piedmont (0-3) 000 011 0 — 2 6 2

2B: Josh Glass (J). WP: Colton Clark. LP: Easton Kirk.

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