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Marquette vs. Vianney

Marquette's Kyle Potthoff (36) delivers to the plate during a Class 5 quarterfinal game on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at Vianney High School in Kirkwood, Mo. Paul Halfacre | STLhighschoolsports.com

The pair may have practiced their pitching grips in their sleep when they were younger, but no longer.

"Sometimes, when we were younger but not now," Marquette senior Kyle Potthoff said. 

The extra practice is irrelevant now.

Kyle and Tyler Potthoff are more than masters with their grips now.

The pair of Marquette senior pitchers has been masterful on the mound for the Mustangs as they stampede their way to the program's first-ever Class 5 semifinal appearance on Friday.

"We've watched a ton of other teams beat us in the quarterfinals and go on to the Final Four," Marquette coach John Meyer said. "I think it's just a great time to take a deep breathe and be so grateful for all the players who came before this to help us get here. It's taken a long time, but I'm OK with that."

Marquette (23-8) will play Willard (29-6) at 4 p.m. on Friday at Car Shield Field in O'Fallon, Mo. in the first Class 5 semifinal game. 

De Smet (12-13-1) will play Staley (27-5) in the second Class 5 semifinal round immediately after the first on Friday.

Leading the charge to Marquette's first-ever semifinal appearance have been the pair of Potthoff brothers. 

Tyler Potthoff has posted a career high of a 5-1 record with a 2.67 ERA in 39 1-3 innings pitched with 49 strikeouts. 

His brother, Kyle Potthoff, has posted an 8-0 record with a 1.17 ERA in 36 innings pitched and 47 strikeouts with his eighth victory coming in the quarterfinal game to send the Mustangs into the semifinal round.

When the final out was recorded at Vianney, Kyle Potthoff admitted that he breathed out a sigh of relief.

"They came out every inning and pounced every inning," Potthoff said. "We had to keep scoring and we couldn't let up any single play."

Meyer knew he had two solid pitchers from a purely physical standpoint after having coached their brother Ryan Potthoff and knowing their father Michael Potthoff had pitched in the Los Angeles Dodgers system.

But it was what went on between their ears that confirmed that he had two bonafide aces on his staff.

"You're talking about two players who have the physical skill set, but then you take the will and desire to work hard and they've turned it into something special," Meyer said. 

That hunger to outwork each other, that ingrained sibling rivalry, has pushed them to new heights. Last year, Kyle Potthoff didn't register a win and only threw 2 1-3 innings, while Tyler Potthoff was second on the team in innings pitched and held a 2.76 ERA. 

"We've both try to be better than one another," Tyler Potthoff said. "We've both been top pitchers and competed with each other since we've been really little."

While Tyler admits that Kyle probably throws harder than him, they both concede that Tyler has the better-offspeed pitches. 

The sibling rivalry has pushed them to new heights on the mound but it's something about the team in general that has helped Marquette get over the hump and gave Tyler Potthoff the confidence that they would be headed to Car Shield field at the end of the season.

"At first, I did. We've been with each other since our freshman year," Potthoff said. "We've played in the summer together and we knew we had something special."

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