By Brandon Speck
THRASHER – Luke is older, by just a minute. Josh is bigger, by just 10 pounds and one inch at 6-foot-2, 205.
The Walden twins: equally talented for the Thrasher Rebels.
The senior pair, a very close duo, have not only shared a unique prep baseball career playing on the same team. They’re a battery.
“Catching Josh has really been a privilege,” Luke Walden said.
Success at the plate
Pitching to Josh has not been a privilege. Walden is narrowly second in Mississippi with a .656 batting average, five home runs and 23 RBI. His .750 on-base percentage is tops.
Luke is hitting .366, one of five Rebels hitting more than .350. Senior Brandon Purvis is hitting .403.
Thrasher coach Richie Taylor is in his second tour of duty with the Waldens. He coached them at 12U travel ball before he got to Thrasher. He said the chemistry was evident then.
“It’s been awesome, playing here for Coach Taylor, playing with my brother, it’s just been a great experience. I’ve loved every minute of it,” Josh Walden said.
Josh is tearing it up on the mound, too – 7-1 with a 1.31 ERA and 70 strikeouts.
But there is more work. Tonight, the Rebels (18-7) host Ingomar in a first-round Class 1A playoff series. Asked about their stats, both preferred to discuss the team’s chemistry and playoff goals. But the figures are loud.
They started competitive baseball at age 8. Both have put in full loads beyond baseball the last four years. Luke has played every year of football and basketball, rushing for 519 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Josh has had his share of obstacles that took away two years of football and one basketball, knee surgery and Tommy John, of which he specifically recalls the exact 2012 and 2013 dates.
Luke broke his thumb playing baseball as a freshman and says it’s still not right. In seven playoff games, Josh’s injuries have limited him to three innings.
It’s made for a unique experience, tense at times, when the work comes home.
“It gets rough sometimes,” said Josh.
Like when a coach was stealing Luke’s signs.
“Josh got mad about it and we about flew into each other,” Luke said.
“I had to go and separate them,” Taylor said. “They were fussing at each other.”
Both admit the times may not set in until their final out, the twins’ last go-round as Rebels. They have signed with Northeast CC.
“Most of the time we’re on the same page – most of the time,” Josh Walden said. “We know what we’re thinking. It’s been a great experience.”