Mercado brothers excel for St. Joe
HAMMONTON—Late in St. Joseph Academy’s baseball game against Egg Harbor Twp. (EHT) earlier this month, senior catcher Brock Mercado called a timeout.
Mercado jogged to the mound to have a quick talk with the Wildcats’ pitcher.
“I wanted to talk to him about how he was leaving his fastball up,” Mercado said.
The pitcher that afternoon was Mercado’s brother, Ty, a freshman trying to close out what was eventually one of the Wildcats’ biggest wins of the season.
Ty Mercado had a different take on the mound conference.
“I called him out. I didn’t like the pitches he was calling,” Ty Mercado said.
While those two were debating pitch selection on the mound, a third Mercado, Cohl, watched from center field.
“I just take it all in,” Cohl Mercado said.
The three Mercado brothers have each excelled for St. Joseph this season, helping lead the Wildcats to a 14-5 record this season against a tough Cape Atlantic League schedule.
Playing on the same team for the first time since they were all in elementary school has been exciting for the entire Mercado family.
The boys’ mother, St. Joseph’s athletic director Anne Marie Mercado,had enjoyed watching them play on the same team this season.
“It’s been awesome. How many parents get to see all three of their sons play on the same high school team? They all played together when they were younger, but this year has been special,” she said.
Baseball is big part of life for the Mercado family. All three sons are starters for St. Joseph, while their father, Dan, served as the Wildcats’ head coach for two seasons, leaving the program after the 2019 campaign. The family has a batting cage in their basement.
“It was fun playing for my dad. He’s always been a big influence on all of us. He taught us the game,” Brock Mercado said.
Brock has been the Wildcats’ starting catcher since his freshman season, and will continue his baseball career at the University of North Carolina-Asheville next spring.
The most experienced of the three brothers, Brock has enjoyed playing with his brothers this season.
“It’s been fun. I’ve played on the same travel team with Cohl and here at St. Joe for three years, but this year it’s been great to have Ty here, too. Having us all on the same team is a dream come true,” Brock Mercado said.
Cohl Mercado, a junior outfielder, missed the early part of the season with an injury, but he returned to the lineup two weeks ago and has been a spark for the Wildcats.
“It was tough [missing games with the injury], but I’m glad to be back,” he said.
Joining the two upperclassmen this season is the youngest brother, Ty, a freshman.
“I’m having fun playing with my brothers. I just try to play better than they do,” Ty Mercado said.
For first-year head coach Nick Core, the brothers have made it easy to fill out the lineup card.
“I just write ‘Mercado, Mercado, Mercado’ in the three-four-five spots. Actually, it’s been great. They’re all such great players. They’re each leaders and they set the tone for our team,” Core said.
The three brothers have ranked among the top performers in the Cape Atlantic League this season. Brock Mercado is batting .385 and leads the team with 27 RBIs. Cohl Mercado sports a .594 average and has a team-leading 11 doubles and 15 stolen bases.
Ty Mercado enters the week batting .493, and has driven in 20 runs. He is also one of St. Joe’s top pitchers, having struck out 16 batters in 21 innings, including six in the win against EHT that sparked the heated discussion on the mound with his brother Brock.
Like that situation, all three brothers push each other to play better.
“I want to see them both be successful. If there’s something I can do to help them, offer some advice, I do it,” Brock Mercado said.
The brothers practice and work out together at home, where it sometimes helps to have two more sets of eyes watching each of them play.
“We joke around a lot with each other, but sometimes it helps because we all see different aspects of the game. I saw Brock was dropping his hands so I told him,” Ty Mercado said.
With the season winding down, the brothers are focused on winning a state title and also savoring their last chance to play on the same team.
“It’s been a fun season. We’re just trying to win and have fun because we don’t know if this will be the last time we play together,” Cohl Mercado said.