ENDICOTT, N.Y. -- There's a sweet poetry to how John Daddino and Jesse Montalto wrapped up their varsity careers. After the ugliness of the loss clears, the truth is it ended exactly the way it should: one relieving the other.
It was Montalto who came in to help out Daddino in the fourth inning of Carey's 7-0 loss to Victor Saturday. After, it was those two same boys, hard-throwing pitchers with ERAs under 2, standing next to a cooler, handing each other bags of ice. And finally, when most of their teammates had headed for the shelter of the charter bus, it was Daddino slipping two pain relievers into Montalto's hand. Though the loss may smart, there was no reason his arm had to.
Here is Daddino: football player big, intimidating on the mound, with in-your-face stuff. And Montalto: wiry, maybe a buck-thirty, considers himself a control pitcher despite his ever-increasing velocity.
In practice, they established a two-man club geared toward their specialty -- namely, throwing the ball and throwing it well, coach Marc Hedquist said. "They do sprints, they do their workout," he said. "They're kind of off to the side from us."
It started last summer, when Montalto joined Daddino's travel league, the Mizuno Tigers. The two bonded easily and Montalto progressed rapidly. His fastball climbed from the mid-80s to now topping out at 90. The result was that Carey had two aces, neither of whom seemed to mind deferring to the other.
"You could call him the ace, you could call me the ace," Montalto said. "I'll have him in front of me. He can have the headline."
As nice as it is, Montalto and Daddino are going their separate ways in September: Montalto to Fairleigh Dickinson and Daddino to Iona. They're already nostalgic.
"Me and him, we're a good combo," Daddino said. "You don't find that a lot."
A bittersweet separation for the brothers in arms.