Meet the projected starting lineup for Dallastown baseball. The Wildcats enter the state championship game against Pennsbury with a 20-game winning streak. Jim Seip, YDR
Typically reserved, Joe Capobianco cracked a smile when asked what makes him different from his younger brother, Pete.
From senior second baseman to freshman right fielder, his response was indicative of an older sibling looking to put his younger brother in the appropriate place.
"He's a loud mouth. He's a little crazy. But he's also fun to be around," Joe said.
"Me, I'm a little more laid back. A little more relaxed. Yeah, I think I'm a little more mature."
Pete said Joe is straight forward and to the point. Pete said he looks to relax, have fun and keep things loose.
"Very stubborn. Hard working," Pete said of his older brother. "He just doesn't stop. He's always in the gym, always working, always trying to get better."
Yes, this brother combination brings divergent styles to the Wildcats' baseball program. And they've also taken different paths to stardom on the high school diamond.
They're also equally as important to the Wildcats' championship drive. Dallastown is in the midst of a 20-game win streak. It won YAIAA and District 3 titles, and it will make an appearance in Friday's PIAA Class 6A championship game against District 1 champion Pennsbury.
Joe, the senior No. 4 hitter, is batting .368 on the year with a home run and a team-high 25 RBIs.
Pete, a freshman upstart, is hitting at a .344 clip, with 19 RBIs and five stolen bases.
"They’re going to compete," Dallastown head coach Greg Kinneman said. "They’re good baseball players. They understand the game. They play the game well. In that respect, they’re very much alike.”
For Joe, his breakout year has come in his final campaign with the Wildcats. He was stuck behind quality players in the middle infield, including recent seasons when Nick Schuler and Tye Golden have made it hard to crack the Wildcats' everyday lineup.
While Kinneman said Joe Capobianco saw some playing time last year, the head coach also acknowledged that the senior truly emerged as a breakout performer during his final high school season.
“It’s nice to be able to prove myself in my last year, really get to show what I can do,” Joe Capobianco said.
“There were a lot of hard times, a lot of long games. ... There were some rough years, but I’m all right with it. I always knew it was going to come around."
Golden said Joe Capobianco has been consistent in the middle of the Wildcats' batting order.
“Sometimes people get mixed up with the cleanup spot, that it has to be a home run hitter. Joe can obviously hit one out. He has once or twice," Golden said. "But it’s more about deep at-bats, good at-bats, get your pitch and drive guys in. And that’s what he’s done all year.”
Spring Grove head coach Kevin Stiffler said Joe Capobianco was his pick for YAIAA Division I Player of the Year.
"The team is certainly relentless and he is a big part of that in my mind," Stiffler wrote in a text message. "It's a great achievement winning counties, districts and possibly states. Their win streak is unbelievable."
Pete Capobianco, on the other hand, had his opportunity come earlier in his tenure with Dallastown. Injuries hit the lineup this season, opening the door for the freshman.
"Fifth game of the year I got a text message from coach. He wanted me to come up and play against Governor Mifflin," Pete said. "It was my first time up on varsity, and it was a great experience.
"I just try to do my job. Do anything for the team. Score runs, get on base, do anything I possibly can to help the team win."
Underclassmen performing for the Wildcats is not necessarily a novel concept. Standout pitcher/third baseman Nick Parker was a GameTimePA All-Star last year as a sophomore. Alex Weakland, a sophomore this season, will get the starting nod on the mound in Friday's state championship.
That said, having a freshman make a significant impact on a title-contending team is noteworthy.
“Certainly it’s not a normality," Kinneman said. "But I will say, in our program — and we’ve sort of expressed this since the day that I came in — that it really didn’t matter to us if you were a freshman or a senior. If you have the ability to be on the field and help us win baseball games, we’re going to put you there."
Capobianco's father, who also goes by Joe, said Pete takes things in stride, and is equally relaxed picking up a new video game as he is a baseball bat. He also said being on a veteran team with championship aspirations has helped his younger son step up his game.
"Putting Pete in a position with older guys, 19-U in the summer time, he plays to that level," the father said.
"When he lets the beast out of the cage, he goes to another level. The trick is getting him there."
Joe Capobianco, the older brother, said while his calling card has been work ethic and commitment, Pete has the edge in pure baseball ability.
“I worked harder, but he’s more naturally talented, I think," Joe Capobianco said.
Divergent paths and different styles to be sure, but equally effective. In the end, they hope to have the same possession Friday: a state championship gold medal.
“You don’t know when that opportunity is going to come," Kinneman pointed out. "You just have to try and take advantage of it.”
If you go
Who: Dallastown vs. Pennsbury
What: PIAA Class 6A baseball championship
Where: Medlar Field at Penn State University
When: 3:30 p.m. Friday