Gabe and Zachary Lopez have always had a good-natured sibling rivalry.
The brothers from Everett have the typical sibling athletic relationship. The 15-year-old Gabe is the older brother, always the big kid, always blazing the sports trail. The 12-year-old Zachary is the younger brother, always wanting to play with the older kids, always determined to outdo his older brother.
But for one magical evening the two shared the same spot on a lofty pedestal.
On April 30 the Lopez brothers pitched simultaneous no-hitters for separate baseball teams. Gabe pitched his for the Cascade High School junior varsity team, while Zachary got his with the Cardinals of the Everett Little League majors division. Their feats finished about 10 minutes part.
All of which made for an incredible night for the Lopez family.
“I told people that April 30 will forever be known as the no-hitter day in the Lopez household,” said Anthony Lopez, the boys’ father. “It’s like a new holiday.
“We were both so excited, and our first thought was about where we were going to celebrate,” Anthony added, referring to himself and his wife Kimberly. “We’re just so proud of the boys. We’re happy when they succeed, and when they’re not succeeding we feel the lows. For both of them to have a great thing happen on the same day, words can’t describe it. I had several people tell me that we should buy a lottery ticket.”
Gabe, a sophomore at Cascade, threw a seven-inning no-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the the Kamiak JV team at Cascade High School. The right-hander walked three and struck out nine.
At the same time Zachary, a sixth grader at Eisenhower Middle School, tossed a six-inning no-hitter in a 1-0 victory over the Mariners at Madison Field. The righty walked none and struck out 13.
And their reaction to throwing no-hitters — the first no-hitter for either brother — on the same day? About what one would expect from sibling rivals accustomed to some playful ribbing between one another.
“I went to the locker room, got all my stuff, then went back out to meet my mom and she said, ‘Hey, guess who threw a no-hitter?’” Gabe said. “I thought she was pumping me up and said, ‘Me!’ But she said, ‘Your brother.’ It was like he was trying to steal my spotlight, almost as if he knew I was throwing a no-hitter so he had to get one of his own.”
“I was really surprised, it was a big coincidence that it happened on the same day,” Zachary said. “I was pretty happy for my brother, I guess. I’m not sure he felt the same for me.
“We’re very competitive, both of us always want to be better than the other, and I think I’m winning at that.”
But on this night the brothers stood on equal footing.
“As a parent you’re so excited for your kids’ successes,” Kimberly said. “So for them to have this big achievement and share with each other, it’s so heartwarming. You don’t have to pick one kid over the other, they both did it.”
For the parents, one of whom was at each game, the night made for a strenuous workout for their thumbs.
“We have to divide and conquer,” Kimberly explained. “I was at the Cascade game and Anthony was at the Little League game, and we were texting back and forth about how the games were going. The Cascade game finished maybe 10 minutes before the Little League game, and we didn’t know about the no-hitter right away. It wasn’t until the scorekeeper told us about Gabe that I knew it was a no-hitter and I texted Anthony, and a couple minutes later Anthony texted back that so had Zachary.”
“There were a lot of exclamation points,” Anthony added.
Indeed, neither Gabe nor Zachary was aware he threw a no-hitter when his game ended. Both didn’t find out until after the game was over and they were informed by their team’s scorekeeper.
“When I finished the game I was pretty excited because it was my first complete-game shutout,” Gabe said. “Then as we were cleaning up the field and putting the bases away my catcher told me the scorekeeper told him I’d thrown a no-hitter. It was 15 minutes after, but I was still super happy.”
Said Zachary: “It felt good. I hit a kid, so I was kind of upset about that more than I was thinking about a no-hitter.”
And in this instance, neither had bragging rights over the other.
“They are both super competitive, even with different baseball talents,” Anthony said. “Gabe took a while to get where he’s at. Zachary has gotten there a little faster because he’s been able to play with his older brother since he was a toddler, so it comes a little more naturally to him. It’s fun to watch both develop and grow.”
Said Gabe: “Even though I thought he was trying to steal my spotlight, I was proud to hear he did that.”
If you have an idea for a community sports story, email Nick Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.