Family affair

The brother vs. brother game has become a big family affair

Here’s a different twist on a sibling rivalry.

Brothers Nick and Chris Morabito live in the same house, have the same parents and many of the same interests. But they attend different high schools, where they start out as infielders on different college baseball teams.

On March 14, those teams played, with each brother in the starting lineup and batting No. 2 in his respective team’s orders, when the McLean Highlanders hosted the Gonzaga Eagles in a non-league clash.

Nick Morabito, who will play college baseball at Virginia Tech, was Gonzaga’s starting senior shortstop. He went 2 for 4 with a home run, three RBIs and two stolen bases to help the Eagles win, 4-3. Chris Morabito was the starting junior second baseman for McLean. He walked and reached the base twice, and also threw his brother home.

Their paths crossed several times on the field when the runners reached base.

It was the first time the brothers had faced each other, at any level of organized baseball, in such a situation.

For once, the brothers’ mother, MarLynn, and father, Brian, were only able to attend one game to see their sons play. Often, parents split these tasks due to conflicting team schedules.

“We definitely try to be at every game of theirs,” said Brian Morabito, who played college baseball at James Madison University. “I didn’t know who to contact. So I cheered and cheered on both teams this time.

Various family members were in attendance, some sporting two-tone T-shirts, half in purple Gonzaga school colors and the other in red McLean colors, and wearing purple and red beads.

MarLynn Morabito had purple tattoos on one cheek and red on the other.

“I think my daughter was embarrassed to be seen with me,” MarLynn Morabito said.

The brothers, former teammates on McLean Little League teams, attend different high schools by personal choice. Nick wanted to continue his studies in a private Catholic school. Chris was more interested in attending the family’s neighborhood school with his friends.

As for the March 14 game, the brothers have been anticipating the showdown for weeks. Each even helped prepare the ground for the game, after snow and rain two days earlier soaked the surface and threatened to postpone the contest or move it to drier ground.

“Of all our games this season, this is the one I was looking forward to the most, because I knew the environment would be special,” said Nick Morabito. “There were a lot of family and friends at the game. It was a great experience in every way.

At home later that evening, the two talked a lot about the match in a friendly manner, never threatening to throw the other out of the house.

“To tell you the truth, during the game, I was looking for Chris to come through and get a hit,” Nick Morabito said.

Chris said the same about his brother, but added that he wanted Nick’s home run to be a simple bloop or more “neutral” for a hit.

“Just being on the same pitch playing against each other was such a cool thing,” Chris Morabito said. “It was a lot of fun and I was grateful for everything.”

Said MarLynn: “All night you could feel the electricity in the air.”

Carrie Blewitt, the brother’s aunt, attended the game wearing one of these two-tone t-shirts.

“The Morabito family had a great time cheering on their sons/brothers, nephews and grandsons in this unique game,” Blewitt said.

Uncle John Morabito was also present. He played college baseball at Wake Forest University and then in the minor leagues. He now trains and mentors young baseball players, including Chris and Nick, and influences their lives. So it was also rooted for each that night in what was a unique sibling rivalry.