By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer
Entering the 2023 Baylor baseball season, a storyline to spot was the development of the Caley twins and seeing the unspoken bond between the two. Now nearing the end of the season, each has been able to spend an ample amount of time together in one of the only direct tandem roles in baseball.
Baylor (16-31, 6-15 Big 12) juniors left-handed pitcher and outfielder Cam Caley and catcher Harrison Caley are the only twins in the Big 12. The brothers have been the starting battery four times this year, and Cam has also thrown to Harrison out of the bullpen.
For Cam, having his twin brother out on the field has decreased nerves, and the mental connection between the two has been a game changer.
“Being twins, growing up playing together and being around each other all the time, we definitely tend to think alike in most situations,” Cam said. “If I shake off a pitch [that pitching coach James] Leverton calls, Harry [Harrison] typically knows what I want to throw in certain situations.”
Under head coach Mitch Thompson and a new regime, Cam said he’s focused on his pitching more so this year then ever before. In 2022, he batted .302 in 36 games as a hitter while holding a 4-0 record on the mound in 20 appearances.
This year, Cam has only taken eight at-bats compared to 12 appearances as a pitcher. Thompson said Cam has had moments of success despite his 0-5 record on the mound. Thompson also said Cam has continued to improve and that he’s shown growth, proven by a almost a full seven inning gem on April 22 against Texas Tech University.
“The last couple outings, he’s thrown more strikes and been in the zone with his stuff,” Thompson said. “The last couple times out is more of what we were expecting to get out of him throughout the whole year, and we just hadn’t [seen it] until lately.”
Although Cam struggled in his most recent outing, he went out on the mound and did the only thing Thompson asked him to do, which was to compete.
“One of the things I’ve told the guys all year long is that we need everybody,” Thompson said. “It’s good to see [Cam] show up and hopefully he can have more great outings.”
While Cam’s journey at Baylor started his freshman year, Harrison took a different path. In 2021 he played his freshman season at Abilene Christian University, then transferred to the Bear’s roster prior to his sophomore season.
During that second-year campaign, Harrison hit .276 and provided a reliable bat during his 42 starts. So far in 2023, the catcher has yet to find his groove at the plate but instead found one behind the dish.
Between Harrison and sophomore catcher Cortlan Castle, the Bears have been a strong defensively at the catching position among teams in the Big 12. Harrison holds a flawless 1.000 fielding percentage, while Castle’s is at .982. On the year, the two have thrown out 12 combined baserunners and only allowed seven passed balls.
“Defense has always been the biggest part [of my game],” Castle said. “I feel like if I can’t perform back there, then I’m letting my bullpen down and letting the staff down.”
Castle and Harrison will continue to be the big glove in front of the backstop for Baylor.
For the twin brothers out of The Woodlands, Cam and Harrison have reconnected in the green and gold and have the rest of their junior season ahead along with a 2024 senior year.
The Bears will return to the diamond Tuesday against Grand Canyon University. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Baylor Ballpark.