Brothers represent their hometown on the baseball diamond


Credit to O'Connor photography

Tyler left, Hewitt Middle, Carl right

From playing Wiffle Ball together in 2010 to entering a new decade on the same collegiate baseball team, times have changed for the two Grissom brothers. Yet, their love and passion for baseball along with their brotherly bond still remains strong. 

The elder brother, second baseman Tyler Grissom, is in his senior season, while younger brother, shortstop Hewitt Grissom, has just started his Wildcat baseball career as a freshman. The brothers are alumni of Saugus High School in their hometown of Santa Clarita, where they both played three years of varsity baseball. The boys are three years apart, so they have not had much opportunity to play together other than this season and a few months of summer ball two years prior. 

“I never thought this would happen,” Tyler said. “When I found out he was coming here, I thought it was crazy. I gave him a hug. It was a good time and a good feeling.”

While training every day to be the best ball players they can be, the boys are also tackling tough majors. Tyler is in Chico State’s pre-nursing program, while Hewitt is studying architecture. Their competitive spirit on the baseball diamond bleeds into their determination to excel in school.

The brothers bring similar yet distinct skill sets onto the playing field. They are both highly capable middle infielders. Tyler won a gold glove during his time at LA Mission Junior College prior to transferring to Chico State, and Hewitt is renowned as a great shortstop with a flashy playstyle. According to the brothers, Tyler currently stands as the better hitter of the two while Hewitt is a bigger threat on the basepaths, due to his notorious speed. 

The brothers grew up with a fiery, competitive rivalry that continues to burn to this day. 

“I would always try to one-up him in everything,” Hewitt said of his rivalry with his big brother. “I still try to compete with him and try to be better than him. That’s how we get better ourselves.”

This year has come with adversity for the brothers. On Nov. 14, 2019 with the start of the season about two months away, a student at their former high school shot five students at the Saugus High School campus. Two did not survive. Immediately after the shooting, the killer took his own life. When the brothers first heard the news of this tragedy, they were terrified due to the possibility that their father, Carl Grissom, who is the Saugus High School varsity baseball coach, could have been a victim. Thankfully, their father was safe and unharmed.

“It was terrifying because I was there last year,” Hewitt said. “I knew some people that were a year younger than me that were going through all that. They were reaching out to me saying they were OK,” Hewitt said.

The Grissom’s are a very family-oriented bunch. Carl, who played minor league baseball, acted as the boys’ baseball mentor and coach growing up. He spent the bulk of his free time during his kids’ childhood hitting ground balls and throwing batting practice to the boys. 

“I always told them I would never tell them ‘no.’ If they wanted to go hit, take ground balls, do whatever, even if it was 10 or 11 o’clock at night, we would go do it,” Carl said.

Carl was tough on the boys, with a mindset of ‘If they’re gonna do this, they’re gonna do it right.’ He would regularly take his sons to practice at a dilapidated park with an infield full of hazardous bumps, nooks and crannies, making it extremely difficult to field ground balls. Carl would bring two buckets of baseballs and hit the boys hard grounders on this hellish infield. He would not allow them to move on to the next drill until they fielded both buckets of balls with perfection. This undoubtedly built up the boys’ frustration, but also built up their determination and work ethic. 

Carl would consistently pit the brothers against each other in batting practice competitions. Some of the boys’ favorite competitions involved a cash prize. Carl would offer his sons $100 if they could hit a whole bucket of balls into the net he was pitching behind. If they missed the target even once, they would not get the money. Some days both brothers would get the money, while others days neither one would. The days where only one of them would get the money resulted in hurt feelings and temper tantrums from the other brother walking away empty-handed. The boys said these drills were great for them in the long run, fueling their competitive fire and contributing to their brotherly rivalry. 

On the heels of the tragedy at their former high school, Tyler and Hewitt plan to represent their hometown and help the Wildcats make a playoff run this year. With Hewitt playing shortstop and Tyler at second base, the two stand next to each other on the playing field. The brothers have set a goal to turn a double play together this season, bringing all the childhood bickering, tragedy and familial love full circle.

Arrow VanAbrams can be reached at [email protected] or @Arrow__3 on Twitter.