There's a unique bond between Cole and Owen Williams that none of the other Bobcats have. Just like their father, Chris, and their uncle, Cole and Owen are playing on the same Division I team at the same time.
The Williams brothers have played baseball together for as long as they can remember. Although Cole is a little older than Owen, the two have been fortunate to wear the same jersey on multiple occasions.
Cole was one of the better pitchers on the team when they were little, and Owen was the catcher. However, the roles reversed one evening. Owen found himself staring down at Cole behind the plate.
"I was much bigger than him back then, "Cole said with a laugh. "You know, he's kind of catching up right now."
As the two got older, they found themselves separated a little bit. They played basketball against each other and didn't get to share the field during middle school baseball. Owen would occasionally play up on Cole's travel baseball team, too.
However, things changed once the two got to high school. They got to don the green and white Myers Park uniforms together.
"I think my most favorite moment playing with each other was my junior year of high school. He got a chance to get caught up to varsity as a freshman which was awesome. We won the conference tournament for the first time in a few years and got to be a part of a dogpile together," Cole said.
Their time was cut short, though. Cole graduated two years before Owen did in 2020. While Owen headed back to Myers Park High School for his junior year in the fall, Cole packed his bags for his freshman year at Marshall. The two still practiced together from time to time, but it wasn't the same.
A year later, it was time for Owen to start the recruitment process. While Cole played for the Thundering Herd, Owen attended camps and contacted coaches.
"My senior year in the fall, I was still uncommitted and my recruiting process wasn't going the way I had hoped," Owen said. "I'd hoped to be committed before the fall. So I went out and did some different prospect camps."
Owen went to a prospect camp at Ohio because he'd remembered that Cole had liked the one he attended a while back. After the camp, Owen stayed in contact with coaches Craig Moore and Kirby McGuire. Owen sent the film and later received a call from Moore offering him a preferred walk-on spot.
On Oct. 11, 2022, Owen announced that he was heading to Ohio. He was thrilled and couldn't be more excited to have the chance to play Division I baseball, but he was also excited at the prospect of playing against Cole.
Although the two got something a little different. Cole decided that it was time for him to leave Marshall.
"When I went in the transfer portal, it was kind of hectic," Cole said. "It was back to the recruiting days in high school and kind of a very stressful time. I didn't enjoy that part that much. But you know, I I knew OU and Owen was already committed here, so it was a quick connection."
On June 22, 2022, Cole announced that he would also head to Ohio in the fall. The Myers Park, North Carolina, natives were to once again wear green and white together.
"I couldn't have wished for a better opportunity, or anything. Always, no matter what, to have someone to go to when things are bad, even if they're good, someone to go to that is blood (is the best part)," Owen said. "We've worked out with each other since we were (4 years old), competing with each other and just being able to be on the same team at the next levels, we're both just very grateful for that."
The Williams brothers push each other to be better. If one of them hits a home run in batting practice, the other tries to hit a few as well. They're each other's biggest competitors, but they're also each other's biggest fans.
Every Bobcat cheered when Cole hit two home runs against Central Michigan on March 18, but no one was more excited than Owen. The joy of watching his brother earn his spot in the Bobcats' lineup is now one of his favorite memories of them playing together.
Family is important to the Williams brothers. They enjoy seeing their relatives from Cincinnati when they make the trip to Bob Wren Stadium. It brings a sense of comfort to them while they're hours from Myers Park.
As Cole and Owen stand side-by-side in the Bobcats' dugout, they're glad to be there together. They know they're home.