FAIRFIELD — Because his sons were born three years apart, Bill Hesse never got the chance to be on a baseball diamond with all three at the same time.
Until this year.
Hesse and his sons, Bill II, Bryan and Brandon, make up the coaching staff for the Jungle Jim’s Orange Crush, a Fairfield Youth Baseball Association Coach Pitch team that also features a third generation of Hesses with Logan, 7, Michael, 6, and Cory, 6.
“We’re in a pretty unique situation,” said the elder Hesse, 58, a retired Cincinnati firefighter and Fairfield resident. “I’m not sure there’s ever been this many members of the same family on the same team.”
With 12 players and four coaches on the roster, the Hesse family comprises seven of the 16 spots in the dugout.
“We’ve always been pretty close, so it just makes sense for us to do this together,” said Brandon, 30, of Fairfield Twp.
“When we all had boys the same year, that was neat to start with,” added Bill II. “I started thinking about it right away, about how neat it would be to have my two brothers coach with me and have all three boys on the team.”
Bill II, 36, of Fairfield, is the official head coach, but all of them are plenty involved.
“(Brandon) knows the most about baseball and is a little better at coaching, whereas I just help out wherever needed,” said Bryan, 33, of Hamilton.
“We all have different personalities,” Bill II added. “I’m more of a people person like my dad. I’ve got a sales background so I do most of the talking to the parents.”
Bill Sr. leads the stretching, keeps the book and patrols the dugout, keeping everyone in line.
“You can never have too many coaches,” said Bryan, who added that Brandon’s oldest son Cody, 10, also helps coach sometimes when he’s not playing.
Because FYBA doesn’t keep standings for coach pitch, the Hesses measure their team’s improvement in grins instead of wins.
“I just love to see the way the little guys progress,” Bill Sr. said. “When we first took them out on the field, some of them couldn’t hardly throw the ball.
“Now when they do something good, they get this big grin on their face, and that’s a real kick,” he continued. “We’ve had a lot of fun and made a lot of memories this summer.”
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