WESTPORT -Ethan Markwica knew that he would eventually play for his father as a member of the Westport varsity baseball team.
The surprise came when he found himself also playing for his older brother as part of the Beagles.
The combined baseball program between Keene and Westport Central Schools is entering its second season in 2011, the second time around for the father and son coaching duo of Don (Westport) and Chris (Keene) Markwica.
"It was my favorite year of coaching," Don said. "Coaching with my son was something that I had always dreamed of doing."
'I'm surprised that he gave me as much leash as he did," Chris said. "It has been very equal between us."
For Ethan, a junior with the team, it was also an exciting year.
"I was ecstatic when I found out they were both coaching the team," he said. "I love them both to death and I loved every second of it. It made me work harder for them."
Both Markwica coaches said that they are excited for the second year of Beagle-ball, the nickname that the team came up with as a combination of the Keene Beavers and Westport Eagles.
Don Markwica said that he was surprised at how well the team came together at the beginning of both seasons.
"It was really from the first day of practice," he said. "They all showed up at the field and it was like they had gone to school with each other since kindergarten. It was the same this year with all the friendships that they made last season and the fact that they are ready to play together again."
"We had a marquee game against Willsboro where we were down five runs in the seventh and scored six to win," Chris said about the team coming together. "That changed the complexion of the entire year and helped build the camaraderie even more."
Don said that the relationship between he and Chris worked on the field because they share a common approach to the game.
"We have the same philosophy, which really helps," he said. "Both of us love to play small ball. We also broke up the duties into offense and defense, so Chris would coach first base and I would call the pitches."
For Ethan, while the experience has been fun, he did single out one coach as giving him that extra "motivation."
"My older brother is definitely harder on me," Ethan said. "Don't get me wrong, Dad throws in his fair share, but Chris definitely gets on me more."
"Yeah, that's accurate," Chris agreed.