If you put every pitch Joe Dougherty has thrown to Adam Rettinger end-to-end, it would probably stretch from Morgan Township to Lafayette.
"It's crazy," Cherokees coach Jason Dorshorst said. "We were talking about the number and we figured it was seven, 8,000."
Morgan's senior battery has been playing together for a decade, dating back to their days in Cal Ripken youth ball.
"Even when we weren't on the same team, we were together in all-stars," Dougherty said.
The two have been at their positions since an early age. Being in a small league, they quickly became connected by the 60 feet and six inches that separates the pitching rubber from home plate.
"We've been at it so many years, baseball really means a lot to us," Rettinger said. "It's kind of our thing. We always have a great time together. It would be hard to play without Joe."
The duo has been on varsity since they were freshmen, the foundation of a struggling program that's grown under Dorshorst. Rettinger took over as the regular catcher as a sophomore, succeeding his brother Wes behind the plate. Dougherty surfaced on the pitching radar after growing nearly a foot between seventh grade and high school.
"Especially at a younger age, when a pitch comes, kids would step out of the box," Rettinger said. "Seeing a guy throwing gas, hearing the pop of the glove, it can be intimidating. I've caught Joe so long, I've gotten used to it."
Once just a live arm with a live disposition, Dougherty has matured into a pitcher, thanks in part to the guidance of Rettinger. While Dorshorst calls pitches, he gives the pair more freedom, given their chemistry and background.
"Adam's really good at keeping track of Joe," Dorshorst said. "He's always been the guy who was able to handle him. A lot of times, he calms him down better than I can."
For Dougherty, Rettinger's knack for talking him off the ledge is as valuable as his ability to block pitches.
"Whenever I get a little rattled, he's always out there making jokes or something to calm me down," Dougherty said. "If I get angry, I get wild. I try to stay even-keel, but sometimes it's hard."
Dougherty pitched for Apex Baseball in the summer, the first time he had a regular catcher other than Rettinger.
"It was really hard to acclimate," Dougherty said. "You meet a new catcher, you have to introduce him to all your pitches. Adam knows me. He knows how my pitches move. He doesn’t let balls get by him."
Dougherty won nine games last year as the Cherokees won a Class A sectional title. With a good portion of the team back, the seniors hope to lead the Cherokees to bigger things this spring.
"We've seen the program grow," Rettinger said. "It's not where it used to be. Morgan wasn't on the map until we beat Frontier last year. A lot of people are starting to see the success and want to be a part of it. We've got the players. We've just got to get ready for the last part of the season."