Water Mill’s Pike family is no stranger to big things happening in pairs on the diamond. Like in 2014, when Chris Pike, now 24, pitched a perfect game for Oklahoma City College and threw a no-hitter in his next start.
This season, it was the brother-sister act of Chad and Taylor Pike who turned heads for Southampton High School.
Chad, a senior who hit .388 with five home runs last season, tossed a one-hit, 14-strikeout, complete game at Hampton Bays in an 8-0 victory on March 30. A second-inning single was the lone hit surrendered in the gem.
Meanwhile, Taylor was at Glenn making her own prolific statement in a softball game. With the score knotted at 4 in the top of the seventh inning, the sophomore belted a grand slam down the rightfield line to not only give Southampton an 8-4 lead, but also complete the cycle.
What better moment for her first home run in a Mariners uniform?
“I was just looking to get some runs in,” said Taylor, who hit .387 with 18 RBI and 27 runs scored in her freshman season. “I wasn’t thinking about it. Ultimately it was a plus but I wanted to just help break the two-game losing streak.”
“Taylor never looks nervous,” Southampton coach Virginia McGovern said. “She’s unflappable.”
Only five years ago Taylor was watching her older sister, Kayla, play a quality rightfield for Southampton.
On the boys side, Chris, who graduated from Southampton in 2010, is pitching in the Tampa Bay Rays system. He was 4-12 with a 4.58 ERA last season for the Charlotte Stone Crabs and is currently assigned to extended spring training.
“Whenever Chris played [for Southampton] I would always be there,” Chad said. “I tried to emulate his intensity. He taught me how to grip the curveball and throw it. He texts me every once in a while telling me I’m great and that I can be even greater. It’s awesome to have siblings that are so supportive.”
Taylor also draws plenty of inspiration from Chris.
“I’ve always looked up to him as the oldest, with me being the youngest,” Taylor said. “He was my biggest role model. Everything he’s done has impacted me. He gives me motivation to be great.”
“Going into this year I knew both of them had a chance to have pretty special seasons,” Chris said. “The fact that they both are starting off the season on such incredible notes makes me really excited to see what the rest of the season brings.”
Then there’s Garrett Pike, who followed in Chris’ footsteps and now pitches for Oklahoma City after graduating from Southampton in 2015. Taylor now aspires to compete for Oklahoma City in a few years.
Their father, Gary, began somewhat of a Southampton baseball tradition as a player from 1981-82. But while he acknowledges that he didn’t display the kind of exceptional talent his kids possess, he says their relentless work ethic to be great is what sets them apart.
On days when the baseball and softball teams’ games overlap, Gary will oftentimes attend Chad’s game while his wife, Kelly, will be present at Taylor’s. They devote many of their weekends to making trips to watch Chris and Garrett compete, as well.
“Our success definitely has to do with our parents,” Chad said. “My dad has us working hard and playing together ever since we were young. We’d be playing Wiffle ball in the basement for hours.”
Scott Johnson coached each of the Pike boys at some point.
“I think they’re really unique,” Johnson said. “Their dad’s a baseball junkie. The repetition these kids get, whether in the cage, catching, anything baseball concerned, he and his wife give these kids 100 percent.”
Johnson commended the Pikes for their ability to lead by example. He’s also so captivated by Taylor’s talent that he “wouldn’t be surprised if she’s pitching for the baseball team next season.”
That may seem difficult to fathom, but then again, the same could be said of what occurred on March 30.