BILLINGS — Chemistry is everything for middle infielders on the diamond, and the Billings Scarlets duo of Kyler Northrop and Jaden Sanchez have been building that on and off the field for as long as they can remember.
“We grew up in the same neighborhood knocking on each other's doors asking if they wanted to hang out or go play wiffle ball in the neighborhood," Northrop said. "As long as I can remember, we've been hanging out together. In the summers when we were 9, 10 years old to now going to high school football games together or going out to eat."
“Over the years that connection has only grown stronger," Sanchez said. "The constant connection we have off the field helps with that, too. We'd always be creative in what we'd do that day. We'd spend a lot of days outside playing wiffle ball at the park, tennis ball."
They’ve seen thousands of pitches while manning the two middle infield spots throughout their lives. As their roles have grown on the Scarlets, so has their vocal leadership.
“Being a third-year Scarlet, that comes with the job — rising as a leader," Sanchez said. "Always being able to build our teammates up."
“More than anything, they know what they're doing wrong, so just giving them a break and letting them take a deep breath when we go talk to them if they're struggling," Northrop said. "Leadership, especially now that we've been in the program so long, has been something that we've wanted to focus on and it makes our team better as a whole."
As this dynamic duo has continued to grow, so have the Scarlets’ championship hopes. The Class AA state tournament will be in Missoula July 22-26