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July 16, 2013

Brotherhood on and off the diamond

Kale, Christian thaxton bond over game

DUNCAN — During their time playing for Duncan, all it took was one look at brothers Christian and  Kale Thaxton on the baseball diamond to see how close they had become off of it.

In 2010, Kale hit right before younger brother Christian in the lead off spot, and the pair shared the responsibility of defending the middle infield, with Kale playing shortstop and Christian just feet away at second base.

Even on a lineup card, the pair was inseparable.

Since they can remember, the pair grew up playing baseball together, creating a bond that continues to grow as the duo competes on the college level.

“It was always so great to have my brother there when I was a sophomore at Duncan and he was a senior,” Christian Thaxton said. “He’s been a huge influence for me on and off the field. Everything about that year was special because we got to play together.”

These days, Christian is again following Kale’s footsteps, entering his sophomore year at Redlands Community College, where Kale played for two years. After playing at RCC for two seasons, Kale will play as a senior at Southwestern Oklahoma State next spring.

“With Christian, we’ve been able to teach each other so much,” Kale Thaxton said. “We know each others’ swings better than anyone and we were always spending time after practice sharing thoughts on the game and trying to get better.”

The family’s connection to baseball also ties to the Thaxton’s father, who the brothers agreed was a huge influence in teaching the fundamentals of the game and coming through whenever help was needed.

In the Thaxton household, family time isn’t spent out on the lake or at the movies, it’s at the batting cages.

“Even my mom will come out with all of us,” Christian Thaxton said. “We always hit together as a family. A lot of our bonding happens when we’re out working on baseball, which is awesome.”

Both Christian and Kale point to that 2010 season, when they had the chance to play together, as one of their favorite memories. The Demons made it all the way to state that year, going 22-6 in their final 28 games. It was also Kale’s best season, as he hit an unprecedented .550 with seven home runs, four triples, 15 doubles, 40 stolen bases and 48 RBIs. Throughout that campaign, Kale and Christian spent countless hours after practice going over the ins and outs of the game and trying to figure out how they could get even better.

“Being able to play for coach Dan Briggs and having Christian by my side all season, that was a unique and great experience,” Kale Thaxton said. “Not a lot of people can say that they were able to play with their brother. I can’t imagine anything better than that.”

The brothers agreed that after playing for Duncan, the jump to the college game was far from easy.

“Everyone says ‘Oh, it’s only junior college, the competition isn’t that strong.’ But there are a lot of players who want to play Division I ball or even professionally,” Christian Thaxton said.

Kale agreed.

“My first year, it was a whole other jump in everything as far as learning and the pitching you see from game to game. There was an adjustment period.”

A lot will be in store for each Thaxton brother in the next year, with Christian trying to decide where he’ll play baseball after Redlands and Kale graduating from college. Their connections to the sport have guided each Thaxton brother in deciding their career path. Christian wants to go to medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon while Kale will pursue work in physical therapy.

“I’ve always been interested in the human body and how it works, I’ve gained that through working out and reading about exercise,” Christian said. “It’s a constantly changing and ever evolving field. I want to be a doctor who can relate to the sports side when players are injured.”

Growing up in Duncan, each former star had the same memory of the city stand out to them.

“Everyone was always so supportive,” Kale said. “It always made us want to perform as well as we could knowing the community, the parents of the players were behind us.”

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