Duplantier brothers bring heart to Texas baseball team

Evan Vieth, Senior Sports Reporter

Baseball is filled with honorable brother duos, from the Molinas in the 2010s to the current-day Rogers twins, but few get to have an opportunity as special as playing collegiate baseball together. For Andre and Jayden Duplantier, playing baseball together has been a staple of bonding as brothers.

The Duplantier baseball story starts as early as six years old for one brother, but Jayden wasn’t as quick to catch on. As Andre Duplantier Sr. told The Daily Texan, his first memory of baseball with his sons started in their backyard, throwing soft tosses to Andre Jr. and watching him hit “home runs” in their grass garden. Jayden, however, found himself more interested in the sunflowers growing a few feet away, focusing more on picking petals than joining his brother in athletic activities.

“We (tried) to get Jayden to play a bit, and he wanted no part of it,” Andre Sr. said. “My wife came from work, Dre and I are playing baseball, and Jayden’s just picking flowers.”

The two brothers attended Summer Creek High School in Humble, Texas, each playing for four years under head coach DJ Wilson. During the 2019 season, the only season that both brothers played together, the Bulldogs set school records for most wins in a season and the furthest playoff appearance.

“Andre, as a senior, was able to help Jayden, a freshman, in understanding what you have to do to be successful and win at a varsity high school level,” Wilson said.

While Wilson had high praise for the brothers, he had more to say about their character than their ability on the field.

“Both of them took a business-like approach to themselves,” Wilson said, “Their education has always been a major focal point in their upbringing.”

Kennedy Weatherby

Wilson said that he doesn’t have a specific favorite memory of the brothers, but he mentioned that their interaction in the one year they played together was “special.”

As much as Wilson helped the brothers become the baseball players they are today, Wilson praised Andre Sr. and Lestavia Duplantier, their mother, for forming the boys into such fantastic human beings.

“(The parents) were a huge huge part of their success and our success,” Wilson said. 

Andre Sr. took pride in how the boys grew up together, especially with Andre leading as a big brother. 

“Your job is to make sure your little brother and your mother are taken care of,” Andre Sr. said in regards to the main lesson he always taught Andre. “I drilled it into him.”

With both boys at Texas, it’s harder for Andre Sr. and Lestavia to see them play in person. When the Longhorns opened the season in Arlington, the parents couldn’t attend because of work obligations and a funeral at home. Both brothers got a chance to play in the three-game series, but all eyes were on Jayden to find his first college hit. 

When Jayden got a chance to hit in the 4th inning of the Missouri game, Andre Sr. was sitting in a gas station with his older brother, watching along on his phone. Jayden drew a 3-1 count and took the ball for a ride, smashing a two-RBI ground rule double for his first collegiate hit.  

At that moment, Andre Sr. said he felt like a “proud, excited father,”  jumping up and down in the gas station and scoring many odd looks from fellow patrons. 

“He got that 3-1 count and hit,” Andre Sr. said. “My brother and I were screaming and jumping. The people at the gas station thought we’d lost our minds.”

Two months later, Jayden has registered 30 at-bats, batting .267 on the season with two doubles, and is making an impact on the basepaths as a pinch-runner. On the other side of the ball, Andre has registered 10 innings of pitching on the season with a low 2.70 era, including nearly two innings of scoreless work recently against Texas State. While the Duplantier brothers are in more of a supporting role this season, it’s clear that playing for Texas has only strengthened their bond.