Since the very beginning Koalton and Sammy Keller have been inseparable.
The brothers now have a chance to play baseball together. “It’s one of the best things I’ve experienced in life so far, Koalton said. “The best part is he plays second base so whenever I throw someone out, it’s to him.”
For Sammy, it’s been an amazing experience playing with his older brother.
“We have been lucky to get along our whole lives,” Sammy said. “It’s the last year I’m ever going to play with him so it’s been great.”
The Keller connection is perfect on throwing out the opposition. The elder Keller was impressed with his brother on the tag.
Growing up the boys jumped between mom and dad’s house and through it all, the boys were there for each other, they agreed.
Brothers often use every waking hour to compete. For Koalton and Sammy, they use every opportunity to build each other up.
“I don’t see it as a competition,” Koalton said. “Sammy bats second in the lineup and I bat third. Sometimes I’ll give him some tips and help calm him down. He usually
hits the ball pretty well.
Sammy appreciates his brother looking out for him. “He always tried to build me up so I can’t try and compete with him,” Sammy said. “Everything I learned is from him.”
Earlier this season Sammy was hit by a pitch and Koalton was up to bat next. Koalton let his emotions get the best of him for one pitch, momentarily.
“I was going up there at a pitch I probably shouldn’t have swung at,” Koalton said. I was trying to put it 450 feet over dead center. I know it wasn’t intentional but I wanted to let them know I had his back.”
Koalton ended up walking on the play and scored a run. As close as the brothers are, their bond was tested on Dec. 20.
“It was like 2 in the morning when my mom woke me up,” Koalton said. “The whole ride to the hospital I was so tired, it felt like I was still sleeping. It didn’t hit me until we got to the hospital and could see how serious it was.”
On Dec. 20 Koalton and Sammy’s dad, Tony Keller, suffered an inner cranial hemorrhage and was placed in a medically induced coma.
“Dad has always been the one to work and support everybody. I told him from the get-go that I understood. It was the Sunday before all this happened, I went to a showcase and Sammy had a basketball game. He ended up making it to both.”
Before Tony went into the hospital, he started to grow a mustache. The boys asked the nurses to make sure Tony’s mustache was left alone.
They even started to grow their own to honor their father. “My grandpa has the sickest mustache I’ve seen in my life,” Koalton said. “He said he hasn’t completely shaved it since the sixth grade. Before dad went into the hospital he started to grow his.”
Sammy made a business decision with his facial hair.
“Actually, I ended up shaving mine,” Sammy said. At homecoming, he was bragging about my sideburns, so I haven’t shaved them since.”
The prognosis with Tony is day-by-day, and he continues to show signs of improvement.
“If you tickle his nose with a tissue, he will swat your hand out of the way,” Koalton said. “They have some clever ways to get him up and moving before he wakes up. With that said, he will have a bunch of improvements but then take one step back. It’s a slow process, but he’s defying everything they said he couldn’t do.”
The boys use this trying time to buckle down and focus on the task at hand. That task is helping the McLoud Redskins win baseball games.
“During games I try not to think about it too much,” Koalton said. “Whenever we’re in the weight room or at practice and I’m not feeling the best, I know he’d be telling me keep going and push through it.”