By Andrew Wroblewski
Lightning never strikes twice – unless you’re part of Dix Hills’ Barone family, that is.
Earlier in June, Ryan and Matthew Barone – brothers ages 16 and 14 – did the impossible: within a day of each other, the brothers each pitched a no-hitter.
Taking things one step further, the boys achieved this improbable feat just days before their mother’s birthday.
“[It was] the best birthday present I ever received,” Stacey Barone, mother of the boys, said. “Needless to say, my husband [Stephen] and I are very proud of their efforts and determination whenever they play.”
The boys, who attend Half Hollow Hills High School West and played together on the school’s junior varsity baseball team in the spring, took to the mounds for their respective travel teams on June 19 and then June 20.
First, Ryan, who plays for the U16 New York Steelheads travel team, faced off against the Long Island Gladiators at Sipp Avenue field in Medford. Ryan dominated the game allowing “just a few walks,” according to Stacey, leading the Steelheads to a six-inning 10-0 win over the Gladiators.
“I was thrilled for him,” Stacey said of her oldest son. “He’s a kid that just works at what he does, gives it his all and he’s not flashy, he just goes out there and gets the job done.”
Just 24 hours later, Matthew followed in his older brother’s footsteps when he gripped the baseball for his own travel team, the Half Hollow Hills Hawks, at Robert Frost Middle School in Deer Park. Matthew, who plays for the Hawks in the District 34 summer league, was thunderous as he led his team to an 11-1 victory over the Deer Park Thunder, adding a second no-no to the Barone’s record books.
“My husband manages Matthew’s team and I wasn’t able to make it to the game, but he texted me and said, ‘Not to be outdone by his brother, Matthew just pitched a no-hitter,’” Stacey said. “I replied, ‘Ha-ha, nice try,’ but he told me, ‘No, no; this is legit.’”
Like his brother, Matthew also allowed a few walks – mixed in with an error or two to force in a run – but unlike Ryan, Matthew pitched a complete seven-inning game.
With Ryan and Matthew stealing the thunder in both victories, Stacey made sure to point out that any no-hitter is “truly a team effort.” “The offense by both teams,” the mother said, “gave my boys a comfortable lead which helped them on the mound and they both had solid defense behind them.”
That being said, though, Stacey was more than thrilled for her boys.
“For all the times you bring them to practice and bring them to games, watch them in tee-ball and little league, to have no-hitters happen back to back where both of them could shine was just phenomenal,” Stacey said.
While the boys are set to keep pitching for their teams throughout the summer, they’ll also have school ball to look forward to for next year.
The brothers played together on Hills West’s junior varsity baseball team, but Ryan is also a member of the school’s varsity soccer team and was the kicker for the Colts’ junior varsity football team. Just to add a cherry on top of Ryan’s sundae of physical achievements, the soon-to-be junior also earned a varsity letter with Hills West’s winter track team.
Matthew, not to be bested, just completed his freshman year and was also a member of the Colts’ junior varsity soccer and basketball teams.
“They’re close enough in age now where they’re playing together on the school team, but there’s always a little bit of sibling rivalry,” Stacey said. “Matthew always wants to show that he can always do what his older brother does, and he sure did that.”