Jupiter High siblings are all-star college baseball commits – Palm Beach Post
The baseball careers of sibling Jupiter High School students Brandyn and Tyler Ward have been figuratively heading north for the past several years — all as they literally moved further south.
Brandyn, a 6-foot-4, 218-pound senior outfielder for the Warriors, and Tyler, a 6-foot-3, 189-pound junior first baseman, were born in Chicago. Both then took a circuitous route with their parents toward Gainesville, then Jupiter.
“I work in medical device sales for Abbott Laboratories,” said their father, Chris Ward, “so we went from Chicago to California, Indianapolis, and Gainesville before coming here a few years ago.”
Gator-town’s loss has become Jupiter head baseball coach Andy Mook’s gain. His Warriors team went 18-9 in the regular season this year, and deep in the playoffs before losing to Boca Raton in the regional semifinals. A big part of that success was the addition of the Ward brothers, each of whom transferred from Dwyer High after playing a year of varsity baseball there.
Next year, the versatile 18-year-old Brandyn (who’s equally adept in left or right field) will play for the University of South Carolina.
“I committed there this past June,” said Brandyn, “after seriously considering the University of North Florida and Florida International University.”
Sixteen-year-old Tyler, an infielder who can also play outfield positions, has already committed to play at Tulane University in New Orleans after he graduates high school in 2017.
“I committed in August,” Tyler said. “The other schools I considered were Louisville and Georgia Tech, but Tulane has a phenomenal coaching staff and a beautiful campus, and their academics are incredible.”
Playing college sports is a family tradition. Both the 6-foot-4 Chris and the brothers’ 6-foot mother Elaine played Division I volleyball in California (at Long Beach State and Pepperdine, respectively). Brandyn and Tyler will go to college to advance in other career fields, yet both hope to play pro ball. Perhaps the family’s baseball talent will intervene by proving to have skipped a generation.
“Their grandfather on Elaine’s side, John Caraher, was drafted as a pitcher by the St. Louis Cardinals,” said Chris. “But then he ended up going to Vietnam for the war instead.”
The Ward siblings also play travel baseball for the Orlando Scorpions, and practice their batting with former Miami Marlins hitting instructor Bobby Bell.
And both were invited to participate in the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League’s prestigious sixth annual High School Baseball Futures Game in Lakeland on Nov. 8. The all-star exhibition featured top college and pro prospects from throughout the state, plus Major League Baseball and collegiate scouts in attendance.
Previous participants include first-round draft picks Jose Fernandez (pitcher, Miami Marlins, 2011) and Zach Eflin (pitcher, San Diego Padres, 2012).
“I played in it last year, too,” Brandyn said. “It’s an awesome experience; like you’re playing a minor league game, taking batting practice and signing baseballs for kids.”
“We talked to scouts from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers,” Tyler said. “I went 1-for-4, and Brandyn 0-for-2, but he drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.”