Ninety Six’s Josh Chaney and Joseph Chaney pose with family and coaches after signing National Letters of Intent to play baseball at Florence-Darlington Tech and Newberry College, respectively. Front row, from left: grandmother Jean Bowers, Joseph Chaney, mother Terri Chaney, Josh Chaney and father Jody Chaney. Back: Ninety Six assistant coach Jamie Childress and Ninety Six coach Chad Ellis.
(Scott Chancey | Index-Journal)
Ninety Six’s Josh Chaney and Joseph Chaney pose with family and coaches after signing National Letters of Intent to play baseball at Florence-Darlington Tech and Newberry College, respectively. Front row, from left: grandmother Jean Bowers, Joseph Chaney, mother Terri Chaney, Josh Chaney and father Jody Chaney. Back: Ninety Six assistant coach Jamie Childress and Ninety Six coach Chad Ellis. (Scott Chancey | Index-Journal)
The similarities between Josh and Joseph Chaney are abundant.
Perhaps the most glaring? They’re twins.
They sleep in the same bedroom at home.        
They are seniors at Ninety Six High School and helped the Wildcats’ baseball program win its first state championship.
And on Monday, along with teammates, the Chaneys wore exact state championship T-shirts and medals.
Then, there are the differences.
Joseph is 36 seconds older.
Joseph, an all-state selection at catcher, batted .440 this season along with four doubles, two home runs, 13 stolen bases and 21 RBIs. Josh, meanwhile either pitched (3-2, 3.08 ERA) or played in the outfield while batting .286 with four doubles, a homer and 18 RBIs.
Oh, there are other differences.
On Monday, Josh wore black socks with a white Nike swoosh while Joseph wore white socks with a black swoosh.
Perhaps the most glaring difference, though? They’re going to play baseball at different colleges. Joseph signed his National Letter of Intent with Newberry College, and Josh signed with Florence-Darlington Tech.
“It’s sad, bittersweet,” Josh said. “We left our mark here, but now it’s time to go somewhere else.”
If there ever is a test of twin-separation anxiety, it’s this.
The bond between twins is a unique one.
Josh and Joseph (biblical names given them by their parents) are in sync while working the battery together.
“He’d be catching, and I’d be pitching, and he’ll put down the same sign I was thinking of throwing,” Josh said. “I’d go, ‘That’s exactly the same pitch I was thinking about.’”
“They worked really well together,” Wildcats baseball coach Chad Ellis added. “They’d know when to try and pick someone off.”
So it goes when you’re twins.
The Chaneys’ bond -- on the baseball field, anyway -- began when their father, Jody, shared his love for the game.
“Daddy would work with us and that’s where we learned most of our stuff from,” Joseph said. “We’d work in the backyard, all three of us, trying to get better.”
And then, for those times their father was unable to play catch with them, Josh and Joseph had each other.
“Many kids, they don’t have someone else to play catch with, but I always had that in Joseph,” Josh said. “I was very appreciative of that.”
The Newberry scholarship for Joseph had been sealed for a while, and Josh had originally decided to just be a student at South Carolina and major in civil engineering. If that plan stayed the same, at least the twins would be roughly 45 minutes from each other.    
But then, during the past couple of weeks, Florence-Darlington Tech began to show an interest in Josh.


“I was excited for him,” Joseph said. “I told him, ‘You’ve got to take this chance. God opened the door for you.’ And, that’s where we’re at, now.”
Once that door was opened, Josh knew he had to barge through.
“I would have kicked myself if I didn’t take this opportunity,” Josh said. “So, I took this opportunity and ran with it.”
So now, the distance between the twins while in school will be two hours.
After being reminded of that, Josh said he still has no intention of changing his mind.
“But I wouldn’t have baseball,” Josh said. “And, I could always go back to (USC).”
So, now that it’s set the twins are going separate ways for college, they were part of the school’s state championship celebration Monday.    
Then, Wednesday, they participate in their final high school athletic banquet together.    
And, the final thing commemorating their time as Ninety Six teammates will be their state championship ring ceremony later this year.
“We started years ago working on this, and it’s surreal to finally get the state title we had been working toward for so long,” Joseph said. “And, with most teams, you look at the opposing team and see a couple guys with the same last names and you go, ‘Wow, they could be brothers, or even twins.’
“That’s pretty cool,” Joseph added. “We had that throughout our high school careers. And, it’s pretty cool to share a state championship, especially the first baseball title in school history. That’s really cool.”
And now, the twins move forward in the next stage of their lives -- away from each other.
“Now, we’re splitting up,” Josh said. It’s kind of freaky.”
Although they’ll no longer be teammates, they share a more special bond.
“We’ll always come back as brothers,” Joseph said. “We’ll come back at Christmas to the same place, and Thanksgiving to the same place.”
They’ll always have home.

Chancey is sports editor at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 864-223-1813; e-mail schancey@indexjournal.com or follow him on Twitter @IJSCOTTCHANCEY. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.