18, 18 / PITCHER, SHORTSTOP
This is an article from the Aug. 2, 2010 issue
Achievements: Philip (left) and Nicky began as adversaries, playing against each other in city leagues when they were eight years old and later attending rival middle schools, but playing together has suited them better. The Farragut High seniors won three state Class AAA titles and two gold medals for Team USA at the Pan American Junior Championships, with the 16U team in 2008 and the 18U squad in '09. This year they tag-teamed the state tournament: Philip pitched 15 innings in four days without giving up an earned run; Nicky won the title game with a walk-off homer.
First Steps: Philip took his off-season preparation seriously from a young age. "When he was nine or 10, he would go out to the driveway and shovel the snow so he could throw," says his father, Phil. Nicky was just as eager. "As a toddler still hanging onto his bottle, he would drag his brothers and his dad outside to throw," says his mother, Barbara.
Evokes: Farragut coach Matt Buckner compares Nicky to Chipper Jones: "They both have a smooth swing and drive the ball to all fields," he says. And Philip: "He's most similar in stature to Johan Santana, Mike Hampton or Billy Wagner," says the coach.
Coach's Comment: "Nicky is a very advanced hitter with a very advanced approach," notes Buckner. Philip, he says, "has a little bit of a funky delivery. He hides the ball well, and he can throw three or four pitches effectively."
What's Next: Philip and Nicky made the 18U team again in June; this week they're playing in the world championships in Thunder Bay, Ont. After shooting for a fourth title at Farragut next spring, the friends will likely become rivals again, this time in the SEC. Philip has verbally committed to Vanderbilt; Nicky has said he'll play for Georgia.