ARGYLE — Argyle senior Brandon Boyzuick knew what he needed to do as a brother, not a teammate, in Game 1 of last week’s playoff series against Sanger.
Boyzuick stepped a few feet to his left in the infield dirt and encouraged his younger brother, sophomore Tanner Boyzuick, telling him what he needed to hear in that moment.
Against one of Argyle’s biggest rivals — in the playoffs — the starting shortstop and younger Boyzuick committed one of three errors that allowed the Indians to come back and take the first game of the series.
When the Boyzuicks retreated to their house, Tanner told his brother that the next day wouldn’t be the last time the two played on the same field together.
“I had to keep my head high, though, because I knew I had to come back the next day stronger than I did that day,” Tanner Boyzuick said. “I knew I couldn’t let him down again.”
Tanner didn’t, and he was right.
Tanner, Brandon and the rest of the Eagles will try to topple Texarkana Pleasant Grove in this weekend’s Class 3A Region II semifinal series and be one of eight remaining teams in the state bracket. Game 1 of the best-of-three set is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at McKinney Boyd.
The Eagles (27-8-1) recovered from the Game 1 loss to win the best-of-three series against Sanger and set up the matchup against Pleasant Grove, a team that’s reached the 3A state tournament the last three years.
Brandon said Tanner’s error against the Indians — a groundball the sophomore probably should have backhanded — was not indicative of his ability.
“I knew he was going to be OK,” Brandon Boyzuick said. “I knew he was in the right mindset for the next play and was going to put it past him, but I knew I needed to say something to him just to make sure that he knew.”
Last season, the brothers were on the same field occasionally. This season, they’ve been side by side all season.
Brandon started out at second base, but Argyle coach Ricky Griffin moved him to third base after Argyle’s bi-district playoff series against Bridgeport.
They’re not far apart in the batting order, either. Tanner bats second and is hitting .281, while Brandon is fifth in the lineup and hitting .306. Brandon will be headed to play at Cisco College next year.
Griffin threw Tanner out at shortstop at the beginning of the season, taking his brother’s spot. Griffin said the two have been fairly steady-handed in the infield throughout the season. For Griffin, it doesn’t hurt that the two infielders aren’t caught up in a family feud.
“The cool thing is they really like each other,” Griffin said. “Sometimes you get brothers and they fight and they’re competitive against each other, and these two aren’t. These two cheer for each other and they want each other to play as good as they can. They’re each other’s biggest fan.”
Brandon and Tanner’s posts on Twitter attest to that. Brandon was quick to give a shout-out to his brother after his first varsity home run. When the pair played together during a nondistrict game at Globe Life Park in Arlington, they not only talked about how cool it was to play at the home of the Rangers but how cool it was to play beside each other.
Despite being just two grades apart, the Boyzuick brothers only played together on one previous occasion. Along with the sporting events of their younger sister, Katie, it wasn’t uncommon for their parents, Mike and Sue, to be on opposite sides of the Dallas-Fort Worth area in different sets of bleachers.
For the last two years, the parents have been able to sit in the same set of stands to watch their sons play baseball.
“It’s been really special for Sue and I,” said Mike Boyzuick, who played minor league baseball for three years in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers organizations. “To see them playing on the same infield, batting in the same order and having success contributing the way they have, it’s been awesome. “
Tanner and Brandon share the same feeling.
Next year Brandon will be at Cisco, and he said he’ll come back as much as he can to watch Tanner during his junior year. But until Brandon joins his family in the bleachers, he’ll be a few feet away from his brother in the infield dirt.
“It’s indescribable,” Brandon Boyzuick said. “I wish I could do this for the rest of my life. It’s the coolest thing ever. I wish I could play these next two years with him, too, but I know he’s going to do big things and keep it going.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.