NEW HAVEN — When they are standing across the field from each other, they can’t help but poke fun, trying to make the other one laugh.
When one is pitching, the other is bored at shortstop, chirping towards the mound to let their opponent hit them a ground ball.
They both have the same Wilson A2000 glove and wear the same baseball chain around their necks.
When Andrew Marrero walks into school on the days he is pitching, he wears his headphones to get in the zone, trying to ignore everything around him, including Angel Galindez.
Galindez then turns around and tells him that any ground ball hit to shortstop that day will go into the outfield for a hit.
That usually gets Marrero’s attention, who then takes his headphones out, turns around, goes over to Galindez and gives him a big hug.
“We’re brothers from another mother. We’re like twins,” Galindez said. “It’s something else. There’s nobody like him. I haven’t had a friendship like this.”
The Wilbur Cross baseball team hasn’t had a season like this since 1991, the last time the Governors finished with a winning record.
Marrero, a UConn commit, is 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA and has 58 strikeouts in 37.1 innings pitched. At the plate he has hit .310 with a .442 on base percentage to go along with nine RBIs, 14 runs scored and six extra base hits.
Galindez, a Ranger (Texas) Junior College commit, is 5-1 with a 1.47 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 38 innings on the mound. He is hitting .444 with a .509 on base percentage to go along with seven RBIs and 13 runs scored.
“They call us the dynamic duo,” Marrero said. “It translated on to the field. Just two boys having fun on the field with the rest of the team. We just love the game together.”
The friendship started this past summer when the two played against each other in AAU, then crossed paths at a college showcase.
They started texting, talking baseball, being teenagers, and a friendship was formed.
Galindez then told Marrero that he was transferring from Kennedy in Waterbury, because his family was moving to New Haven. He would be attending Wilbur Cross, where Marrero has started on the baseball team for four years.
“When he found out I was coming to Wilbur Cross, he was very happy,” Galindez said. “He was like I don’t have to worry about shortstop because Angel is coming.”
Once Galindez got to Cross the two became inseparable. The jokes started, the laughing during practices and even games.
“As soon as he came here, we clicked. We’re basically like brothers,” Marrero said. “We give each other a little attitude, ignore each other on purpose.”
Marrero likes to remind Galindez of the time he struck him out on three pitches this past summer.
He beat him with a fastball to start, then Galindez fouled off seven straight curveballs, before Marrero beat him again with his a four-seamer.
“I shocked him again with a four-seamer right down the middle and he’s just like ‘what the heck just happened,’” Marrero recalled.
The friendship between the two has had a trickle-down effect to the team.
“It’s brought the whole team together because everyone is like ‘what is wrong with you guys, you guys are like a married couple’ they start messing around, making fun of us,” Marrero said. “It’s had everyone come together and click.”
The Governors are 11-6, with three games to play in the regular season, and have clinched a spot in the state tournament for the first time since Marrero’s freshman year in 2016.
Since 1990, Wilbur Cross has made the state tournament eight times (including this season), and hasn’t won a state playoff game since 2002, when the Governors beat Masuk 9-2.
They last won 10 games in 2006 and 11 in 2002. They went 17-6 and reached the Class LL quarterfinals in 1991.
“I know that the history of Wilbur Cross (baseball) isn’t the best,” Marrero said. “The seasons go pretty bad but, we’re trying to switch it up a bit. This year I knew it was going to be special.”
With the duo leading the way on the stat sheet, plus a new culture, centered around discipline, the Governors have their sights on more than just making the state tournament.
“I’ve been watching the program for years,” Wilbur Cross coach Angel Ramos said. “I saw that they have good talent and players. I know what I can do. It’s a challenge for me and I wanted to do it.”
Ramos had been the assistant coach at Hamden Hall and the head coach for one season. He decided that the team was going to focus on being disciplined in all facets of the game.
“I talked to the kids about discipline,” he said. “I told them, for us to be a winning team, we need to have good discipline. Being on time to practice, being in uniform, no throwing helmets, no cursing. That’s why we are winning right now. They always have had talent.”
With just three games remaining in the regular season, Ramos said the team is just beginning to hit their stride.
“I hope everything clicks before the state tournament,” he said. “We can have a chance to surprise a lot of people in the state tournament.”