By Nate Rollins, Whitman-Hanson Express Sports Correspondent
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- When freshman Matt Josselyn of Hanson decided he no longer wanted to attend the University of New Hampshire, he knew right where he wanted to go. With his brother Colin Josselyn, a junior, attending Bridgewater State University, it seemed like the perfect fit.
“He had a big impact just to go somewhere where I was more comfortable and had a way in at the school, with my brother being there, was very influential,” Matt, who transferred to the school this semester, said of his older brother.
The move certainty grew their relationship, which already was close.
“He’s over almost every day to play video games and relax,” Colin said of Matt.
Not only do they share the same couch and television on occasion, but they rep the same Bears uniform out on the diamond as well, and it’s been a special season for them both.
The brothers — despite their ties — didn’t get to play much competitive baseball at all growing up together due to the near two-year age gap. All they had was a season of fall ball and a summer of Legion ball together, and Matt wasn’t ready to advance to the varsity level at Whitman-Hanson Regional High until after Colin graduated.
“Being able to work together at it is something we had never really done,” Colin explained. “We played catch all through the summer and a little bit in the fall, and now him standing next to me on the foul line playing catch everyday has definitely grown our relationship a little more.”
Bridgewater State head coach Rick Smith said having the Josselyn brothers — who are both pitchers — on his club adds a sense of family in the team dynamic, and he likes it.
“It’s always good to have a brother combination because one looks out for the other,” Smith said. “Right away I could notice Colin was kind of taking Matthew under his wing and making sure Matthew was adjusting well.”
For Colin, last year was tough as he suffered a season-ending labrum tear in his throwing shoulder before the Bears’ annual season-opening trip to Florida. In his return to the bump this season — which came March 6 against Eastern Nazarene — he was lifted after 5.2 innings. With a runner on second base and two outs, there was a call to the bullpen for his younger brother Matt.
“I thought it was pretty amazing,” Matt said of what was his first collegiate appearance. “I don’t think I’ve ever pitched on the same mound that he has ever in my life. So, it was pretty special to come in and I know it was pretty special for our parents to watch that of him handing the reins and putting his confidence in me to continue pitching a great game, which he did before me.”
Colin said when he saw his younger brother warming up between innings, he tried to give him a jolt of confidence.
“I just said, ‘Hitters aren’t as good as you think they are. I know it’s college and they’re probably a little better [because] your above-average high school players are playing in college. But, you’re an above-average high school pitcher so just go out and do you,’’’ Colin said.
Matt fired 1.1 scoreless frames in relief.
“It was very cool to watch and early in the year I kind of tried to play on it,” Bridgewater State pitching coach Josh White said. “And I said to Colin, ‘Listen, your brother is going to pick you up right here.’ And we tried to use that as a motivational thing and it was pretty cool to watch though and it’s something I’ve never seen.”
Colin said he’s used his little brother as motivation for some time now.
“In the competitive spirit of it, since I’ve been in college, I’ve always heard stories of him excelling at the high school level,” Colin said, “so it made me try harder to have my parents go back from my game and say, ‘Hey, Colin looked good today too.’ Just because of that little brother competitive rivalry aspect, so it kind of propelled me to work harder and it also helped him.”
Having an older brother who grew up as a talented baseball player certainty had its benefits to Matt.
“I think he definitely has [made me a better player],” Matt said. “I saw him when I was in middle school and through high school [where] he was a three-year varsity player and I knew I wasn’t as good as him, but I always tried to be as good as him, so to finally get my chance and play on the same team as him, it’s pretty cool.”
Since that outing, both Colin and Matt have seen action in three games apiece and shared the hill April 11 against Curry.
“It is pretty cool,” Colin said. “For him, I think he gets to see a familiar face. I think I get more nervous watching him pitch than he is. It’s very nice to have him around.”