GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO
Steve Ascher has been Mattituck
Steve Ascher and his brother, Tom Ascher, are twins. They don’t know if they are identical twins or fraternal twins, but they look an awfully lot alike. That can be confusing for opposing high school baseball teams, never mind their own coaches.
“I can tell who they are if I had my eyes closed and they were talking to me,” Mattituck Tuckers Coach Steve De Caro said. “I’d always be able to tell.”
With both eyes open, however, mistakes can be made.
“We still, by the way, mix them up all the time, Gene Rochler and myself,” De Caro said of his assistant coach and himself. “You start to yell: ‘Hey, Tom! Tom! Tom! Tom!’ And Tom’s standing right next to me instead of pitching.”
To the untrained eye, though, the easiest way to tell the difference between the two may be their hairstyles. Steve wears his hair shorter than Tom.
“I appreciated it when they got their hair cut differently,” De Caro said. “That made my life a lot easier.”
So much is similar about the two juniors. “We do everything the same,” Steve Ascher said during an interview Tuesday in a second-floor classroom overlooking the Mattituck High School baseball field. They are both in the starting pitching rotation along with Mike Gagen. When they are not pitching, Steve Ascher plays first base and Tom Ascher plays shortstop. Tom can play all of the infield positions, but shortstop became his on a more regular basis during the season when Yianni Rauseo dislocated his right pinky while sliding head first into second base.
Another surefire way to differentiate between the two brothers is to watch them throw a ball or swing a bat. Steve throws lefty and hits righty. With Tom, it’s vice versa.
If the Aschers follow similar approaches, that would only be understandable. They both started playing at a young age. Last year was the first time they were on different teams. Tom was brought onto the varsity team while Steve played for the junior varsity.
Both agree that having a twin as a teammate is a benefit. “We know the mistakes that each other makes,” Tom Ascher said, “so it’s easier to help correct each other rather than [having] someone else try to fix it.”
Both of them come from a family that is involved in athletics. Their father, Jamie, runs a summer-league team, their mother, Karen, does work for the Mattituck Booster Club, and their older brother, Jon, was a first baseman and pitcher for the Tuckers who is now attending Oneonta State. The Aschers have a batting cage at their Cutchogue home, so they can refine their swing in the off-season.
This has been a rough season for the Tuckers, who will sit out the playoffs for a second straight year. The team has a 5-13 record, 3-13 in Suffolk County League VII. Rain postponed Tuesday’s scheduled game with the Mount Sinai Mustangs to yesterday. That pushed back the final regular-season game to today.
“They held themselves up real well in a tough season where we made a lot of errors in the field,” De Caro of the Aschers. “We were worried if they were going to mentally be able to handle that. They’ve done a great job.”
Steve Ascher has been Mattituck’s No. 1 pitcher all season long. That means he has been matched up against the top pitchers the opposition has had to offer.
“Steve has had the worst job of almost anybody in the years at Mattituck that I’ve been here,” De Caro said. “He’s had to go against the best pitchers in our league, and he’s kept us in the game.”
Heading into yesterday’s scheduled game, Steve Ascher had a 3-3 record with a 1.89 earned run average. He had 65 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched. In addition, he carried a .310 batting average.
Tom Ascher was 1-1 with three saves and a 2.50 earned run average. His batting average was .280, and he belted a game-winning homer against the Elwood/John Glenn Knights.
Next year the Aschers should play an even larger role on the team. “They can both hit and they can both pitch, and they’re going to be the nucleus along with Greg Siliris and Yianni Rauseo,” De Caro said. “They should be the nucleus of our reloaded team next year.”
“They always have a smile on their face,” De Caro continued. “The Aschers, they’re a team that grows on you. Once you get to know them, they really grow on you.”