It’s rather easy to distinguish Michael Gettys from his younger brother Jonathan. Prolific pitching and faces that are nearly identical — even though the elder keeps a five o’clock shadow — are two of the traits these two Gainesville (18-2, 10-1 Region 8-AAAAA) pitchers share.
Other than that it’s a night and day difference. Their vastly different personalities is the first thing that grabs your attention. Michael, a junior, is far more gregarious, while his freshman brother Jonathan tends to be content to stay more to himself.
They’re so different, in fact, that before spring break those around them on a daily basis rarely thought of the Gettys brothers in the same breath. However, that all changed when both pieced together no-hitters in the same week with a two-game sweep of Clarke Central.
The left-handed Jonathan started it off with 14 strikeouts on his 15th birthday against the Gladiators in Athens, followed just two days later by right-handed Michael’s nine strikeouts over five innings to wrap up the memorable week for the brothers that Friday at Ivey-Watson Field.
“No-hitters by brothers against the same team in the same week has got to belong in the record books somewhere,” said Gainesville senior catcher Skyler Weber.
This wasn’t their first brush with success pitching this season. Michael, who has a 7-0 record and 0.16 ERA, no-hit Habersham Central earlier this season in Gainesville, while Jonathan gave up just one hit over five innings against the Raiders in the first week of the season, also the first varsity start of his high school career.
Michael and Jonathan have each allowed just one earned run in 2013.
The younger of the Gettys brothers, who already hits the high 80s on the radar gun, has a 3-1 mark and a 0.33 ERA on the season and has nailed down the No. 2 spot in the pitching rotation.
“It feels really good to me to know that we’re both having success pitching,” said Michael, already a verbal commit to the University of Georgia. “It’s great to be able to come out here to the baseball field and spend so much time together.”
It’s no surprise that Michael, who bulked up to about 205 pounds through weight training before this season, has been an ace for the Red Elephants’ rotation. He has a fastball that can hit in the low-to-mid 90s on the radar gun, according to Red Elephants coach Jeremy Kemp. His latest win for the top-ranked Red Elephants (18-2, 10-1 Region 8-AAAAA) against second-ranked Loganville 5-3 on Friday gave them the inside track to the region title with another meeting between the two programs on Monday at Ivey-Watson Field.
“Michael’s a complete player,” Kemp said. “He’s got size, speed and he’s powerful.
“There’s nothing on this field he can’t do.”
Kemp also highlights the perspective that Michael brings to the field.
“Michael’s very humble and has a work ethic that’s second to none,” Kemp added.
Adding Jonathan into the pitching rotation at the start of the season was more a decision out of necessity with senior Hunter Anglin expected to start but still reeling from nerve damage in his shoulder. He’s in a better position at the time to work a limited pitch count out of the bullpen in relief.
Kemp first threw Jonathan in the game for an inning of relief work in a scrimmage against Lambert, which he handled well. Then his real test came with the start in the opening week of the season against Habersham Central, allowing just one hit in his time on the mound.
At that point, Gainesville’s coach knew he was on to something good.
“You never anticipate a freshman being able to jump in there and pitch like he has,” Kemp said. “He’s helped us out a ton this season.”
Both of the Gettys brothers both focus exclusively on baseball now after dabbling in a handful of sports growing up. Michael says it was their father, Mark, who insisted they start training to learn baseball at a young age. Every day after school, Michael says they would come home and start hitting and throwing.
“I used to get mad at my dad back then because I just wanted to be able to play, but that’s where I got my work ethic from,” Michael said. “Now, I’m doing something every day to get better.”
Despite his tentative demeanor, the fresh-faced younger Gettys brother has quite an ability to pitch. Unlike his older brother, Jonathan likes to use more finesse from the mound. Being a lefty is just an added bonus.
“He (Jonathan) is going to try and make you look silly with his curveball,” Kemp said.
Both of the Gettys brothers play in the outfield when not on the mound. Chandler Newton is the No. 3 pitcher in the Gainesville rotation. Kemp’s plan for now is to keep Anglin at third base every day and as an option to pitch in relief.
“Michael and Jonathan are both great teammates and always have our back,” said Weber, a Georgia signee.
“That’s what this team is all about.
“It’s exciting to get to catch both of them.”