Baseball has been called America’s pastime. For the Romanowski’s, it’s a family pastime.
Dave Romanowski grew up playing baseball and when he had kids of his own, he pushed them into sport. Today, his sons are finally playing the sport they love all together on the same team.
Brothers Mike, Shawn and Austin Romanowski are all members of the Sweet Home varsity baseball team.
Being three years older than his twin brothers, Mike considers it be a blessing to finally be able to be on the same team as them in his senior year.
“We’ve been playing baseball for many years. This one of the first times where we’ve played together,” Mike said. “It’s fun playing with them.”
According to head coach Jon Campolo the brothers are quiet kids who bring it to the baseball field.
“They seem like they don’t talk too much, but they do all their talking on the field,” Campolo said.
Mike has been on the varsity since his sophomore year, providing a strong arm for the pitching staff. This year he was the Panthers’ ace.
Shawn joined the varsity in the beginning of this season as freshman serving as catcher for Sweet Home.
That gave Shawn a younger brother’s dream and possibly an older brother’s worst nightmare; he got call Mike’s pitches.
Campolo was he nervous about that idea to begin the year.
“I thought it was going to be more of an issue then it was,” Campolo admits. “They seem to really block it out and play baseball. They get along great.”
For Mike and Shawn, the whole thing made perfect sense to them.
“It was nice coming into the year knowing that I was throwing to someone who I had chemistry with,” Mike said.
Shawn believed that there was nobody better than him to call pitches for his brother.
“I know his pitches better than anyone, so it’s easy to call his games,” Shawn said.
Austin was not called up to the varsity until the middle of the season. But that wasn’t for a lack of talent. That wasn’t a starting spot for Austin to begin the season on varsity, so Campolo decided to have him stay on JV in order to make sure was Austin playing rather than riding the bench.
When Austin was finally brought up to varsity, the stars just seemed to align for the Romanowski brothers.
Last week, the trio played their first game together against West Seneca East. In the Panthers 3-1 win, all three brothers hit a double. Mike also got a win on the mound, throwing a three-hit, five strikeout complete game.
That game showed what the three are capable of.
“They all hit and see the ball,” Campolo said. “Austin and Shawn didn’t play like freshman and Mike came out and threw the way he is capable of throwing.”
Like any older brother, Mike likes to give his younger brothers a hard time at practice, but they both know it’s all just tough love.
“It’s a nice experience. I think I can learn from him,” Austin said. “He picks on us in practice (and at home) but we know he is trying to get us better.”
The Panthers have had success this season, and the Romanowski brothers have certainly been big a part of it.
Sweet Home had a a record of 10-10 overall and 6-6 in the ECIC II during the regular season, earning themselves the No. 5 seed in the Section VI Class A1 Baseball sectional playoffs.
Mike has a record of 3-2 this season in seven appearances from the mound with a 4.15 ERA and 23 strikeouts. At the plate, he has .216 average and eight hits.
Mike will be attending Niagara County Community College next and hopes to continue playing the sport he loves.
Shawn has been big from the dish this year. He has an .221 average getting 15 hits, scoring 12 runs and driving in four more.
In three games on the varsity, Austin has two hits and has driven in 3 runs for the Panthers.
The Romanowskis are as competitive as any set of brothers out there, but they also are one of the kindest.
“We joke that dinner table conversation has to be funny in the Romanowski household because they’re always trying to outdo each other,” Campolo said. “But they’re three of the nicest I’ve ever coached and a very good baseball family.”
Sweet Home opens up the post-season with a quarterfinal match-up against No. 4 seed Hamburg. First pitch 5pm today at Hamburg.