Robert and Andrew Jacot once had different future aspirations on and off the baseball field after their Perquimans high school days.
Now as the brothers play on their third different team in the last five years — Elizabeth City State — it’s worked out better for family to stay together.
“We joke about it all the time, and he’s following the same career as me, so it’s kind of funny,” older brother Robert Jacot said. “When the other guys say 'Jacot,’ both of our heads turn.”
The Jacots have banded for near-identical paths, linked by a mutual affinity for baseball, which started when Robert began playing T-ball at four years old and little brother Andrew, a year younger, was the batboy.
And that age difference has been the only barrier to playing together for possibly 10-straight seasons, from middle and high school to the College of The Albemarle and now ECSU.
Add to it time on summer travel teams, and that’s a lot of combined competition for one pair.
“He’s my brother, so ever since we could pick up a ball, we were playing against each other in the yard, from wiffle ball, then video games, everything,” said senior Robert Jacot, who primarily catches for the Vikings. “There’s some sibling rivalry, but we’ve always loved to play with each other and are very supportive.”
Younger brother Andrew, a junior who pitches and sometimes plays infield, said all the extra interaction with his big brother has been a strong influence in his play.
“I’m used it, and we’ve played together since we were four years old,” Andrew Jacot said. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do last year, and then I decided to come over here.
“Playing with him is just another perk.”
Both had offers from various schools after stellar all-state careers at Perquimans, which included a 1A East Regional final appearance in 2009 when Robert was a senior and Andrew a junior.
That’s when the bond of baseball started to fall by the wayside and education became the bigger focus, but then again, neither wanted to hang up their gloves.
Opting to stay close to home while figuring out career plans, Robert went to COA and played for the Dolphins. A year later, Andrew followed suit.
After the community college route, both began to explore studies in the aviation field, which is offered at ECSU ... along with spots on the baseball team.
They also moved into a place together in Elizabeth City while attending school.
“Maybe it’s just destiny that keeps bringing us back together,” Robert Jacot said. “After high school, I never thought I would be playing here. I thought I would be way gone somewhere, and he would be doing his thing.
“Situations come up, and other things become more important than ball, and you have to put them ahead. It’s worked out that we both want to do the aviation program and this is the place to do it.”
The Jacots’ father, who was in the Coast Guard, inspired them to look into aviation, which Robert will enter upon graduation as part of the Coast Guard’s College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative, or CSPI.
Guess who’s applied for the program, too?
“We both had the idea at the same time, and he got the better opportunity because he’s older,” Andrew Jacot said. “My dad was in the Coast Guard, and he kind of gave us that idea in high school, but then we weren’t thinking much about the future, we were thinking baseball.
“Now I see that it’s hard to go anywhere in baseball or anything like that, so they have an awesome program here, and I hope to get in because it’s a great career to get into.”
They do differ in the specifics of the field. Robert looks to become a pilot and Andrew wants to work in aviation electronics.
When it comes to baseball, the brothers have shied away from any potential scuffles siblings could have through the years, opting to keep each other positive.
“We play better together, and we have each other to talk to and rely on each other if something’s happening on the field or off, and always respect what we have to say about each other,” Robert Jacot said. “If I’m doing bad or making errors, he’s there for me. If he’s not pitching well, I think he looks up to me a lot, and I will try to get him right.”
Those pointers could become handy when the duo undoubtedly meet again, maybe in the adult softball leagues, Robert said with a laugh.
“That would be fun, because there’s good softball behind Bojangles (in Elizabeth City).” Andrew Jacot said.