How’s this for pressure! There are two outs in the last inning of the championship game of an international tournament. The pitcher is throwing a “no hitter,” and the last guy up smacks a ball to you at shortstop. Now add to the equation that the person on the mound happens to be your twin brother.
Kyle Brady fielded the ball on two hops and threw to first to get the final out of the game. Yes, he was nervous. In keeping with baseball tradition, no one mentioned the “no hitter” in the dugout. But the coach had told his fielders to dive for any ball that was close to them.
Kevin and Kyle Brady are entering their junior year at Cornwall Central High School. Several months ago they tried out for an Irish All Star team for players who were 18 or younger. They made the team and had to apply for Irish citizenship, which they were granted since their grandparents had been citizens of Ireland.
Most of the Irish players lived on the East Coast of the United States, and were available to practice at Mercy College in Westchester. On July 7, the team flew to Switzerland. The players stayed at a hotel near the airport, and hopped on a shuttle that went to the ball field every 20 minutes.
Ireland was in the B Bracket with teams from Belgium, Poland, Russia, and Switzerland. They played each of their opponents once, and then the two teams with the best records met in the finals.
The championship game was a showdown between undefeated Ireland and the team from Belgium, which had lost only once. The contest wasn’t close. The final score was 12-0. But Kevin’s “no hitter” kept everyone on edge.
At the end of the tournament, the winning team got an engraved cow bell and a gift of Swiss chocolate. Kevin Brady got similar prizes for being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
It was a good week for the local twins. Kevin hurled 12 innings and allowed just three hits. Kyle divided his time between shortstop and the mound, giving up just one earned run in eight and two-thirds innings.
The brothers got to see the view from a mountain in Lucerne, and took a dip in Lake Zurich — which not many people do. While at the hotel, Kevin and Kyle used Google Translator to converse with the players from Russia, who spoke no English. They talked about President Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin.
Having won the tournament, the Irish team will move into a higher bracket next summer. The Brady Brothers are planning to stay with the team.