Haecker brothers share field for Squeeze, Auburn Tigers


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  • | 6:58 p.m. July 22, 2015
Haecker brothers share field for Squeeze, Auburn Tigers
Haecker brothers share field for Squeeze, Auburn Tigers
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WINTER GARDEN — Playing together since Little League, the Haecker brothers have made it all the way into their collegiate baseball careers and are still on the same team — times two.

Damon Haecker, a rising junior at Auburn University, and Chase, a rising redshirt sophomore for the Tigers, are playing together close to home this summer as they suit up for the Winter Garden Squeeze in the Florida Collegiate Summer League.

Chase began the season on the Squeeze’s roster, and Damon, who played for Winter Garden in 2014 in the franchise’s inaugural run and laid claim to the team’s highest batting average, just joined the team following the All-Star Break.

The brothers and Lake Brantley High School alumni have had the unique opportunity of playing together for the majority of their careers. 

The most notable exception was the season Damon started playing for Auburn as a freshman and Chase was still a senior in high school — but even that had benefits for the brothers. Being able to observe his older brother as a freshman in college gave Chase an inside look at what playing at that level would be like while he was concluding his career at Lake Brantley. Then again this season, while Chase was redshirting during his first year on campus, he was able to again observe his brother as he started in 61 of 62 games for the Tigers and amassed 22 RBI while scoring 35 runs.

“I get to know things before I get up to a school or different tournaments,” Chase said. “Whenever we’re together, I get to work off of him.”

Despite their obvious similarities, Chase said the two bring different things to the table as ballplayers — something which helps both of them. Having the opportunity to learn to grow as a player and grow with his older brother is an opportunity that not many people have. Damon said they really help each other out on the field by telling each other what to do and when to do it.

“He kind of keeps me level-headed, and I try to do the same for him,” Damon said. “I try to help him out whenever I can.”

With all of the benefits of playing side-by-side, their father, Mark Haecker, said it can also be quite challenging.

“Even though they play together and they’re teammates, they definitely push each other’s buttons when they’re on the field,” he said. “Which probably has made them better but also kind of challenges them.”

Choosing to play in the Florida League and for the Squeeze was an easy call — the team is just 20 minutes from home.

“We only come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas break (during the school year),” Damon said. “So when you come home to play (for the Squeeze) … it’s always good to hang out because we’ve got two brothers that are quite a bit younger. So it’s always good to come home and see them and help out the family.”

Beyond their playing abilities, which were good enough to earn them scholarships to an SEC program, Squeeze General Manager Adam Bates had other reasons to seek out the pair for his ballclub. Bates is familiar with the brothers from umpiring them while they played their varsity ball and, perhaps most importantly, is a Lake Brantley and Auburn alum himself.

“It’s always nice to follow a local kid at my alma mater,” Bates said.

Bates admitted there is something special about having two brothers wear the same uniform. Watching them on the field, he sees that Damon, being older, leads Chase while Chase pushes Damon.

“These guys get to play together. I think it’s very special; it’s very unique,” Bates said. “It’s part of our Squeeze story.”

Contact Emilee Jackson at [email protected].

 

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