Joe DeMers and Willie MacIver have been best friends and teammates since Little League.
Their baseball bond began when they were kids playing for the Pioneer Little League Giants in Pleasant Hill, California.
They remained teammates through middle school, high school, and their travel team, and now they are playing ball together for the Washington Huskies at the College World Series.
It’s the first time in the school’s history that the team has made it, and Washington, which dropped its first game 1–0 on Saturday, will face Oregon State at 2 p.m. ET Monday for the right to keep playing in Omaha.
DeMers is a starting pitcher for the Huskies. He said that it’s easy to see from the mound that MacIver enjoys the game. “I admire his love for the game,” DeMers said. “He loves playing baseball. You can see it in his face every time he takes the field.”
DeMers said he is happy to be playing in the CWS with MacIver. “We do everything together,” DeMers said, “and it’s been a fun experience to be here with him.”
MacIver, who plays mostly at third base and has also played catcher, is glad to be experiencing the CWS with his best friend.
“It’s a special feeling to be able to share this field with him,” MacIver said.
Both MacIver and DeMers were selected in the MLB draft this month, but they were picked up by different teams.
MacIver was drafted in the ninth round by the Colorado Rockies (as a catcher), and DeMers was taken in the 11th round by the Oakland A's. MacIver said that nothing, not even being miles apart, will get in the way of their friendship.
“We know that we are only a phone call away. And we can see each other in the offseason,” he said.
DeMers said he doesn’t know what to expect when they are no longer playing on the same team. “That’s going to be weird,” DeMers said. “We haven’t been separated since we were seven years old. We are going to stay in touch.”
Baseball has kept their friendship strong. If someday they play each other, they won’t let the game get in the way of their friendship, DeMers said.
“When we compete out there, I would treat him like any other player,” DeMers said. “But when we are off the field, we are brothers.”
Top photograph courtesy of the DeMars and MacIver families