May 27, 2018
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Twin brothers providing a double punch on mound, at plate for Senior League World Series team

Brendon Hanafin | BDN
Brendon Hanafin | BDN
Matthew (left) and Michael Nickles are identical twins who are playing for the U.S. Southeast champs from Dumfries, Virginia, in the Senior League World Series at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Michael and Matthew Nickles are mirror image twins.

If they faced each other, they would appear to be the exact reflection of each other.

They are also two of the standout players for the U.S. Southeast champs from Dumfries, Virginia, currently playing in the Senior League World Series at Mansfield Stadium.

Dumfries has won its first two games and will battle fellow 2-0 club Bangor in Wednesday’s 5 p.m. game.

There are definite advantages to being twins but it can also be a hassle.

“It’s cool, sometimes, but it gets annoying because people keep asking us which is which … like every day,” said Matthew Nickles, who pitches and also plays third base and the outfield.

“I’m glad Michael hasn’t been shaving. It’s easier to tell them apart,” said Dumfries manager Brendon Hanafin.

They share interests like baseball, basketball, football and ping pong but baseball is the only one of those sports that they play in high school. Both will be juniors this fall.

However, they are also different.

“I hit lefty and he hits right,” said MIchael Nickles. “He’s really neat and I’m not neat at all. He’s much quieter than I am.”

Matthew disputed Michael’s contention that he is the quieter brother.

“That’s not true,” he said.

“Matthew is more serious,” said Kathy Nickles, the mother of the twins. “Michael came out (of the womb) smiling. They are both honor roll students.”

They are the fourth and fifth of six sons and five have played baseball.

Matthew Nickles is primarily a pitcher who also plays third base and right field. Michael Nickles is mostly a third baseman but he pitches, too.

He is the older of the twins by 40 minutes.

They both throw right-handed.

“They take care of each other and can talk to each other with their eyes,” noted Kathy Nickles.

“We always have each other’s backs,” said Michael Nickles. “We help each other a lot. There are some things he’s stronger in and some things I’m stronger in.

“He’s a better pitcher than I am. He throws harder. And he helps me with that. I like to help him with hitting,” added Michael.

“I’m better than him at everything,” joked Matthew.

Matthew Nickles prefers to pitch while his twin would rather play third base.

“Matthew is a pitcher [first]. He is more accomplished on the mound,” said Hanafin. “He pitches more for the high school and for us [than Michael does]. He’s a good infielder and when you put him in the outfield, he has a great arm. Michael is a real good infielder.

“Both of them are real good hitters,” added Hanafin.

As pitchers, Hanafin said Matthew has more velocity on his fastball but Michael “drops down” on his delivery which helps his fastball be effective. He said they both have good curveball and they each also have a change-up.

Matthew and Michael teamed up on a five-hitter to beat U.S. West champ Wailuku, Hawaii, in the opener and Michael also chipped in with two hits.

Michael was one of four pitchers who combined on a four-hitter to top Canadian titlist Regina, Saskatchewan 10-0 in five innings on Tuesday. Matthew Nickles had a double and an RBI and his twin singled and drove in a run.

“They’re different but they’re both real good ballplayers,” said center fielder Ben Marotske. “Mike’s a little more outgoing. Playing with them is fun. We mess around with one another.”

Marotske said he doesn’t have any trouble telling them apart “because I’ve known them for quite a while.”


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