Building connections and brotherly bonds is a key to success for any team. It helps even more when two of the players are actually brothers.
Hutchinson Huskies players Jake and Cody Arlt have been teammates since they were kids, growing up in the same household. Now they’re important cogs in the Huskies’ fourth straight state tournament run.
“Not everybody gets to do it (play baseball with their brother). I’d like to think I took him under my wing so he could play with us,” said Jake, who is the oldest by two years. “Not a lot of guys get to do it, it’s a cool thing to do.”
Jake, a 2015 Hutchinson graduate, and Cody, a 2017 Hutchinson graduate, have been on the same teams during Legion and high school, but not with the playing time they’re enjoying now.
“I was always on the team,” Cody said, “but I always just bullpenned and caught. I never played (with Jake).”
Jake played in 12 games for the Huskies in 2015 before starting 38 games in 2016, with Cody appearing in eight games. Jake was a regular starter again in 2017, starting 36 games, while Cody started four contests.
Last season, Cody took over the roll of starting catcher in all 37 games for the Huskies, while Jake took the summer off from competition. With Cody catching behind the plate, Hutch won its third straight region title and advanced to the Class C state quarterfinals. Jake was in South Dakota for the summer, a bystander to the Huskies’ success.
“After last year, these guys made a good run at state, and just not being there kind of hurt me inside,” Jake said. “(I) wanted to be there for the guys. And coming into this year I didn’t expect to play, I just wanted to be part of the team again. Thankfully (coach Mike) Kutter let me come back, and it’s been fun. Hopefully we can keep it going and make a run at it.”
Cody has started 25 games for the Huskies this year and Jake had started nine contests while commuting from South Dakota. They are batting .361 and .333, respectively, and have combined for 31 RBIs.
Cody started at catcher and Jake at third base for both of Hutch’s region tournament games last weekend. The Huskies shut out Maple Plain and Howard Lake in both games, and the brothers made their presence known. The pair combined for four hits, including three doubles, four runs, four RBIs and three walks.
“It feels good,” Cody said. “It’s a lot of fun. It builds traditions, it builds memories.”
Despite the distance he has to travel, Jake didn’t want to miss out on another summer of town ball with his teammates and brother. So far, he and the Huskies are all happy he’s back.
“It gets busy, but this is why everyone in the state plays amateur baseball, to make it to the state tournament,” Jake said. “There’s not a lot more that’s better in the summer. … A lot of states don’t have what we have, so it’s really cool to be a part of it again and look forward to hopefully doing big things.”