When the Marauders walked away from Bloomsburg having swept the Huskies Monday, they had quite a few people to be thankful for. Chas McCormick teed off thrice in Monday’s double-header, giving him five for the year. It was McCormick’s 30th straight game reaching base. Dan Neff and Tyler Orris each reached base six times. Brandon Miller and Jim McDade both earned wins in their starts. Rounding out the list of top performers of not only the double-header against Bloom, but also the entire season, are Dan and Mitch Stoltzfus. The two drove in a combined eight runs in the two game set, reaching base seven times between them. The Stoltzfus cousins are just getting started.
Living only 10 minutes from one another, Dan and Mitch Stoltzfus spent most of their time together growing up in Lancaster County.
“I was always over at his house in the summer and after school throughout grade school, middle school and high school,” said Mitch. “Dan and his 3 brothers have been like my brothers growing up.”
Now, over ten years later, they’re just as close personally and even closer in proximity. Junior Dan is the starting first basemen for the Marauders, while his cousin Mitch, a sophomore, starts behind the plate. Both cousins are enjoying career years at the plate. Mitch is raking at a .310 clip, driving in 11 runs on six extra base hits. Dan sits in Ted Williams (Red Sox OF, not Marauders IF) territory, hitting .411 with five homers and 39 RBIs, both of which lead the team. Though both cousins excel with a bat in their hands, part of each athlete’s the success can be attributed to the other.
“We work a lot together on hitting, especially in the off season,” said Mitch. “We will both give each other advice here and there about our swings.”
The two have played together since high school when both played for the Pequea Valley Braves. Although spending a lot of time playing around while growing up together, the cousins try to keep it to business on the field. However, they are able to use their connection to their advantage, according to Dan.
“I’d say we have a good chemistry with him as a catcher and me playing first,” he said. “We have an idea what each other is thinking. If Mitch wants to throw behind the runner usually we can just look at each other and have an idea of what the other wants.”
Despite attending the same high school, growing up together and having the same last name, the two aren’t all the same.
“Personality-wise we are very different,” said Mitch. “Dan is more outgoing at practice and around the team than I am. I am more quiet and reserved. On the field we’re also different. Hitting-wise, Dan is a power-hitting lefty while I am a righty who hits more ground balls. However, we both enjoy the same things. We both love sports (both playing and watching), country music and fishing.”
“Mitch definitely has the better arm between us and I’m probably the better fisherman,” said Dan.
Though the two cousins are ostensibly different people, they certainly both have a knack for baseball. Both have found their groove this season and helped the Marauders to an impressive 26-6 record.
And, to top it off, neither wear batting gloves at the plate. As for why, each gave his respective reasoning in separate interviews.
“That’s just what I’m comfortable with and I don’t change it,” said Dan.
“I feel more comfortable without batting gloves,” said Mitch. “It’s just one of my preferences.”
Guess it runs in the family.