Mitch and Dan Stoltzfus spent every waking moment of their childhood playing backyard sports in Southern Central Pa. There were whiffle ball games and ping pong tournaments — the two cousins challenged one another constantly.
Flash forward a few years later, and all those blistering summer days are paying off. The pair are both batting over .400 for a BR-2 Millersville University baseball team on a quest for a D2 baseball national title.
Dan is in the midst of one of the greatest seasons in Marauder baseball history. He's already set single season records for home runs (15), RBIs (81), and total bases (136).
His cousin Mitch has solidified himself as a high-caliber catcher, throwing out 10 of 31 runners for a caught stealing percentage of .323.
“We were always very competitive guys growing up, no matter what game we were playing,” Mitch said.
Playing for the same collegiate team almost seems like fate for the duo. They formed tight-knit bond from an early age, growing up just 30 miles from Millersville.
Mitch looked up to Dan like the older brother he never had. As they got older and began to take baseball more seriously, their relationship began to flourish.
Dan Stoltzfus (Courtesy of Millersville Athletics)
Their lives, both on and off the field, were intertwined.
Like the time a few summers ago, when the two cousins were playing summer ball in N.C., and they parked their cars in a lot without a pass to do a little fishing. As night began to fall Mitch and Dan made their way back to their cars, and Mitch found a police officer in the middle of writing him a parking ticket. Dan jumped into his car and sped off to avoid the same penalty.
“Dan calls me 10 minutes later and told me he got pulled over for speeding,” Mitch said.
Like any close relatives, the two Millersville players have a lifetime of stories like these that solidify their bond.
But while many outsiders would see their current individual successes and assume they constantly push one another, Mitch says their workout routines are usually separate.
“For the most part, we are independent when it comes to training and practicing,” Mitch said. “We usually will hit with each other in the offseason, other than that, we do a lot on our own.”
Even though they may stay separate in their practice routines, there’s no denying the Stoltzfus cousins set the tone at an early age. They were bound to play collegiate baseball, and now have a chance to share in the glory together.
The Marauders face Nova Southeastern for a two-game series to decide the D2 baseball championship Friday and Saturday. Both games will get underway at 3:00 p.m. Eastern at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.