Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 23, 2014

Marsh Madness

East Carter trio united as siblings, athletes

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

GRAYSON — Whether it’s at a breakfast table before school, in hallways between classes or on the sidelines after the final bell, Bradley, Seth and Michael Marsh have grown accustomed to splitting space with one another.

A truly unique teenage trio, the brothers have played alongside one another in two varsity sports for the Raiders this school year.

Bradley, 19, and 17-year-old Seth celebrated Senior Night with a triple-overtime win over Greenup County on Tuesday. At 15, Michael is a sophomore who seldom sees varsity action, but he may possess the most potential, say his brothers.

Michael surpassed the elder duo in height as an eighth-grader, and since has sprung to 6-foot-1, three inches taller than Bradley.

“I still get picked on and stuff,” Michael said, smiling, “but I’m the biggest one of us all. So I give it right back.”

The Marshes transferred from Rose Hill Christian to East Carter when Bradley and Seth were freshmen — Bradley repeated seventh grade.

All three were in the soccer starting lineup for an 11-3-4 62nd District title team that fell to eventual region champion Ashland, 3-2, in the tournament’s opening round this past fall.

Seth, a striker, is kicking around the idea of a small-college future in the sport. Bradley, a defensive midfielder, is recognized as the most physical player. Michael, with his long frame and arms, mans the goal.

“We kind of have telepathy on the soccer field,” Bradley said. “We always know where one’s going to be and what not. Soccer is more of a joy in the sense that all three of us are on the field at the same time.”

Bradley’s favorite sport, though, is basketball, as is the headband-clad Michael’s. Teammates voted Bradley the best defensive player in 2012-13.

He embraces the rarity of the Marshes’ situation.

“We’ve talked about it. This is a one-time chance that all three are going to get to do this,” Bradley said. “It’d be cool to win championships, with all three of us.”

The Raiders (13-13) head into West Liberty on Wednesday to take on Morgan County in the 62nd District Tournament. As Raiders head coach Brandon Baker acknowledged, any of the four teams involved could capture the crown.

Baker couldn’t remember ever coaching three brothers before this season. He inadvertently inserted all three into a preseason scrimmage in the Jack Fultz Classic at West Carter.

“After the game, people asked me, did you realize you had all three of the Marsh boys out there?” Baker said. “I didn’t really think of it until it was brought to my attention.”

“That was a night to remember,” Seth said.

Beth Marsh, their mother, seized the opportunity by snapping a quick picture with her phone of all three boys standing near the foul line. She said when their oldest brother, James, played, she would attend as many as 125 basketball games from December to February. James graduated from Rose Hill in 2009.

Just when the Marsh parents thought they would get a break from gym-hopping, Kara, a 13-year-old and the youngest of five siblings, decided to cheer for middle school basketball.

The Marshes are inseparable during summer months, too. All four brothers work for their grandfather at L.R. Daniels Transportation Inc. in Ashland. Well, most do.

“Michael, he works when he wants to,” Seth jokingly jabbed.

Both Seth and Bradley make a concerted effort to “toughen up” their younger brother.

“They push Michael, they try to challenge him,” Baker said.

Michael starts and plays significant minutes for the JV Raiders.

Bradley and Seth each offer different qualities and skills on the hardwood.

“(Bradley) has come leaps and bounds as far as maturity goes and how to use his competitive nature to his advantage,” Baker said. “It’s enabled him to become a leader of our team.

“Seth is like the quiet assassin,” Baker grinned. “He’s got a fierce competitive nature also, it’s just all inside. Bradley shows his emotions more.”

Seth is soft-spoken, but his voice was the only audible sound as he confidently led a brief postgame prayer with Boyd County and East Carter players and coaches united in a circle on Thursday.

“They have a very strong faith,” Baker said of the Marshes. “It’s evident in how they carry themselves on and off the court.”

While they’re not always mindful of how uncommon their bond is — said Michael: “We’ve done it all our lives” — they all share a clear goal, one they want to achieve with their teammates.

A 16th Region title, said Bradley, isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

“I think the region’s wide open,” he said.

“A lot of people didn’t think we could beat (defending region champion) Fleming, Ashland and Lawrence,” Seth said. “We beat Lawrence, beat Ashland, and almost beat Fleming.

“We have more brothers on the team than just three,” Seth added. “We’ve all become a family on and off the court.”

Other Brothers in Sports

The occurrence of three brothers on the same team have happened a handful of times in the professional ranks.

The most recent? Jared, Eric and Jordan Staal all took the ice for the Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL in April 2013.

There have only been two instances of this in major league baseball, according to baseball-almanac.com. George, Harry and Sam Wright played together for the 1876 Boston Red Caps. Felipe, Jesus and Matty Alou were all on the 1963 San Francisco Giants.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.