Usually, the fact that they are twins sets 6-year-old Jake and Tyler Roeder apart. But this year, these Concord residents are one of four sets of twins on their 12-member Continental Little League’s Peanut Division T-ball team – rightly called the “Twins.”
“They love that they’re part of a team of twins. They talk about it all the time,” said their mother, Erin, who watched a game recently at Valle Verde Elementary School in Walnut Creek. “It’s kind of nice to be part of a majority rather than the minority.”
Twins coach Tony Calero, who is also a father of identical twin teammates Caitlin and Katrina, says so far it’s been pretty easy. “We’re just getting started and the kids are young enough so there’s not much of a competitive edge between them,” he said. One set of twins, however, can’t be on the field next to each other because they like to throw rocks at each other.
“Other than that, we’re OK,” said Calero, who has been league president for three years and served on the board of directors for nearly 10.
Calero has been coaching baseball for 12 years, starting when his two older sons were in Little League. Over the past few years, he has seen more twins on league teams. His oldest son now plays varsity baseball at Concord High School.
“T-ball is awesome because the kids are just starting out,” he said. “My girls still haven’t quite figured out running to first base after they hit the ball. And all 10 kids in the field will chase after a ball (and sometimes the runners will, too). Somewhere along the way you get to see them learn how to play.”
Most twins are placed on teams together in the Continental League, but there are Little League draft rules that allow managers to draft siblings (twins or not).
“It has been an issue in the past,” Calero said. “A manager recently told me that years ago he drafted one twin to the majors and one twin was left behind in AAA. Apparently it caused trouble at home.” When presented with a very similar option this year, the manager chose not to draft one of the two twins.
Luckily, 9-year-old Concord twins Dylan and Stephen Rule are equally matched on the field. The brothers have played baseball together in the Continental League for the past four years and currently play on the Orioles AAA team.
“I like to play on the same team with my brother because then I get to see him play, too,” said Dylan. His brother Stephen said playing on the same team pushes him to be a better player. “If he’s playing hard, then I try harder.”
Walnut Creek resident Aidan Gailmard, 5, who plays on the Twins, said playing baseball with his twin, William, is just plain fun. “I like hitting and catching,” he said. Then he called out to his brother, who was up to bat: “That’s strike two!”
For Calero, the league and the players are all part of his family. “I love it!” he said. “It’s just fun to see these kids grow up.”