Wauwatosa West senior Willie Belknapp and junior Zach Veit are more than teammates.
They're friends, they're like brothers and, from a baseball point-of-view, they're battery mates.
What does that mean? Well, when Veit pitches, Belknapp goes behind the plate and catches him. When Belknapp pitches, then Veit puts on the catching gear and catches him.
They both like their roles and feel it has driven them closer together.
"He caught me last year; he was my main man," Veit said. "Willie is almost like my brother. Off the field we're friends. On the field we're friends. It just makes the combination so much stronger."
Not surprisingly, Belknapp agrees with his teammate.
"This is my first year of me pitching to him," he said. "We have different pitching and catching styles. Zach's an athletic guy, and I thought he would do a good job back there. We've grown closer together. We are both really comfortable at both positions."
Veit knows he is the more emotional of the two, and he talked about an incident where Belknapp calmed him down.
"He came up to me on the mound one time and told me a story when I was so stressed to take my mind off things," Veit said. "Then he said 'Relax man.' He knows everything that needs to be done.
"When he's pitching, I try to do the same with him. I think we have a great relationship. It's a unique one."
Veit feels being a catcher helps him as a pitcher and vice versa.
"Catching is another psyche," he said. "I know what other pitchers do, so it helps me pitch a little better, call a game a little. I can see some of the things Willie does behind the plate. I can kind of turn it into what I do. It's a bonus for pitching and catching."
Belknapp also highlighted their different styles.
"I'm a total defensive catcher," he said. "I like to be in control of the pitcher. I like calling the pitches. Zach is an athletic guy and tries to be in control of everybody.
"He loves just being aggressive behind the plate. He has a better arm than me so he's always looking to throw out runners. I trust him to throw runners out if they are dumb enough to go. I focus on the hitter instead of the runners."
Belknapp said it's fun working with the emotional Veit.
"Zach is very passionate," he said. "He plays baseball, basketball, football. He's a competitor. Sometimes he gets a little too pumped. He tries to do too much by himself. I just try to calm him down. Remind him this is a team sport, and the guys got his back."
Belknapp, on the other hand, is more low key.
"I like to keep to myself more on the field," he said. "Focus on what I can do. Zach is a rally guy. He pumps everyone else up as much as himself. That's just his personality."
And it is a combination that is working out well for the Trojans.
- Wauwatosa Sports Notes: May 26, 2016
- Semipro football: Milwaukee County Chargers defeat Bulldogs in exhibition opener, 20-6
- Girls Track and Field: Wauwatosa West girls run away with Woodland Outdoor title
- Wauwatosa's Folley takes first in Greco-Roman Tourney
- Baseball: Wauwatosa East baseball team will rely on defense, depth in 2016
- Softball: Wauwatosa East softball teams beats West Allis Central in twinbill
- Sports Shorts: May 19, 2016
- Girls soccer: Wauwatosa East girls soccer team crushes West Allis Central, 11-0
- Girls soccer: Wauwatosa West girls soccer team seeks Woodland title
- Football: Wauwatosa East's Ryan Kelnhofer to play in summer All-Star game