Pirates feature twin bill

The Nanaimo Pirates’ batting order sometimes has Nathan and Bryan Odgers hitting back-to-back. They're making the most of their at-bats.

Nanaimo Hub City Paving Pirates players Nathan Odgers

Nanaimo Hub City Paving Pirates players Nathan Odgers

To use a baseball term, call it a doubleheader.

The Hub City Paving Pirates’ batting order sometimes has Nathan and Bryan Odgers hitting back-to-back, and the twins are making the most of their at-bats these days.

The Canada Day long weekend was a breakthrough. On Monday against the North Shore Twins – yes, the Twins – Nathan  hit a grand slam to power his team to a 6-1 win and then Bryan hit a single, double and triple to lead the way in a 13-1 win. Each of them knows how he did, and knows how his brother did, too.

“Me and my brother, it’s competition pretty much every game to see whoever can do better,” said Nathan.

That applies to B.C. Premier Baseball League games, or contests in their backyard batting cage, said Bryan.

“It’s an ongoing battle, but it’s all for fun in the end and we all get good laughs out of it.”

They get a lot more out of it than just good laughs, too.

“We definitely push each other and we know how to take each other’s criticism which makes us better baseball players,” Nathan said.

Bryan is a third baseman, designated hitter and starting pitcher, while Nathan is a second baseman and relief pitcher.

The 17-year-olds are in their rookie seasons in the BCPBL after starring with the junior Palladian Pirates last summer.

Bryan said the premier league takes greater mental focus. On the mound, if he misses with a pitch, it’s trouble.

“I started pretty slow, I’m starting to pick it up now, starting to see some more innings so my arm’s starting to feel better. I feel more confident on the mound,” Bryan said. “Hitting-wise, I’m having good swings on balls every single day.”

Nathan said when the game speeds up at the premier level, it’s up to players to slow things down.

“Now I can feel it start to turn around,” he said. “I’m putting better swings on balls and I think my season’s going to just keep getting better.”

Manager Doug Rogers said there’s always an adjustment period going from junior to senior, but said the Odgers brothers are showing confidence now, and playing as well as anyone on the team.

There might be a tendency for fans to think of them as one entity, but Rogers, whose twin sons Alex and Brady also play on the Pirates, doesn’t get Bryan and Nathan mixed up.

“They’re individuals to me, just like my kids are,” he said. “As players they both bring different qualities to the table.”

Coaching them, he tries to make sure Nathan doesn’t hang his head after a bad at-bat, and he tries to keep Bryan from getting too amped up and trying to do too much.

“They’re not opposite, but they are opposite in some ways, with aggression and with mannerisms,” Rogers said.

Fans can tell No. 27 and No. 28 apart by their jersey numbers, or by their stance – Bryan bats left-handed; Nathan, right.

Which explains why Bryan’s batting average is a few points higher, said Nathan.

“He’s the lefty, so he has it easy. He gets a couple steps shorter to first base.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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