Growing up in Las Vegas, Jason “Jay” and Josh Sharman found a passion for baseball at an early age, by getting involved with the only Division I baseball program in the city.
The brothers started as batboys for the UNLV baseball team as kids, and from there, they would begin working their way up to playing for that same team.
“We grew up here watching all these games,” Josh said. “We were actually batboys together for one weekend. We got to go to the clubhouse and really came to love it. That was our dream to come here and play here, especially together.”
“There were brothers before, the Armstrongs, and they were batboys when they were here. They kinda took us under their wing, they saw two brothers, one older than the other, they had the same thing. So they took us under their wing and helped us out, they were actually the ones to help recruit us here.”
After experiencing a weekend as batboys, the brothers began playing the sport here in Vegas. Even though one is older than the other, it never seemed to be a problem.
“We started around seven or eight [years old],” Jay said. “We didn’t play tee-ball, I think we just started…”
“…in coach pitch,” Josh said. “I would always play up a grade to be on his team. It was a challenge for me, but it made me better.”
Josh, the sophomore pitcher, is a year younger than his brother Jay, a junior outfielder. Jay arrived at UNLV first, signing in 2018, then Josh would join him a year later.
“When we started, he was actually the hitter,” Jay said. “I was more of a pitcher and his nickname used to be ‘Bomber’ because he would always hit home runs and I never really hit home runs. Then in high school, we kinda just flip-flopped.”
Back when they were teammates on varsity baseball at Desert Oasis High School, Josh and Jay led their team to back-to-back trips to the 2017 and 2018 NIAA 4A Sunset Region Tournament, with a semifinal showing in 2017.
Each made a name for themselves, Josh lettered all four years in baseball and helped the team to a 105-30 record in his four seasons there. As a senior, Josh went 12-0 on the mound, only the second 4A pitcher in state history to go 12-0 in a season.
Jay, in his three seasons on varsity, helped the team to a 70-31 record. As a senior, he earned Second Team All-State and First Team All-Sunset Region after hitting .363 with six doubles, five triples and three home runs, 41 runs, and 31 RBI.
Jay was also valedictorian for his school and helped Desert Oasis to a runner-up finish in the 2018 American Legion World Series in North Carolina after winning the Region 8 Tournament and Nevada State Tournament.
While each brother was having a successful varsity baseball career, separately and together as a team, they were also a doubles team on varsity tennis. Josh having been on varsity tennis all four years while Jay was on varsity his last two.
“We were Nighthawk and Dragon,” Jay said. “Those were our nicknames.”
“From ‘Step Brothers,’” Josh added. “We had headbands, I was Nighthawk and he was Dragon, we wrote that on our headbands.”
Having played together for so long, in two different sports, Josh and Jay are sure to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to each other’s own game. After being asked the best part about playing together, each brother stated:
“When I’m pitching and just knowing he’s there…” Josh said. “Having that confidence with him behind me is huge.”
“Just being able to see each other and know,” Jay said. “Since we’ve been playing together for so long, I’ll see one thing when he’s pitching and I’m like, ‘you’re not doing this like you normally do.’ It’s just really easy to help each other because we’ve seen each other play so much.”
“For sure,” Josh added. “We’re like each other’s player-coaches.”
Although they seem to see eye-to-eye when playing together, they have completely different teams in the MLB that they root for, Jay is a Colorado Rockies fan while Josh is a Washington Nationals fan.
Spring training is right around the corner for the Major Leagues, which means college baseball season is here.
Catch Jay and Josh Sharman and the rest of the UNLV baseball team on opening night where they will take on the Spartans of Michigan State, first pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18. UNLV students get free admission to the games and all other tickets can be purchased at the gate.