- - Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The fun and games began on a cul-de-sac at the bottom of a hill near Atlanta in baseball-crazed Cobb County.

It was there that the three Kieboom brothers would roll out of bed early on Saturday mornings and start playing ball. That didn’t always go over well with the neighbors, who eventually learned where the noise was coming from at 7 a.m.

“We would go out with a tennis ball and play pickle,” Carter Kieboom says. “That is when I started to fall in love with the game.”

“I am sure the neighbors thought the Keiboom kids are out of control,” recalls Spencer. “We were always doing something.”

These days all three brothers are involved in pro baseball: oldest brother Spencer, 27, has been a catcher this season for the Nationals, youngest son Carter, 20, is one of the top prospects in the Washington system at Double-A Harrisburg and middle brother Trevor, 25, is an agent in Atlanta who works for Carter and other players.

Trevor Kieboom began his college career at Clemson, then played at a junior college and at the University of Georgia before his playing career ended.

“I wanted to stay in baseball,” he said. “I went to business school at Georgia. It was like a seamless transition.”

Trevor has represented Carter since the youngest brother was drafted by the Nationals in the first round out of Walton High in Georgia in 2016. The company that Trevor works for, Vanguard Sports Group, also represents Spencer.

Spencer is a little more detailed oriented (than Carter). Spencer asks a lot more questions,” Trevor Kieboom said.

“He is unbelievable at what he does,” Carter says of Trevor. “I am happy for him. He had some injuries in college; I am glad he is still around the game.”

Spencer Kieboom was drafted out of Clemson by the Nationals in the fifth round in 2012. He made a brief appearance with the Nationals at the end of the 2016 season when regular catcher Wilson Ramos was injured. This year Spencer Kieboom was summoned from Triple-A Syracuse as regular catcher Matt Wieters has been on the disabled list.

Erick Fedde, a pitcher for the Nationals, came up through the minors with Spencer Kieboom. The two have been living together this summer.

“We don’t tip-toe around each other. We both realize we are trying to make each other better,” Fedde said of Spencer. “I can see him back there sweating. As a pitcher, you can’t ask for more than that. It is great having (him) back there. I feel super comfortable.”

Spencer Kieboom, in games through Tuesday, was hitting .214 in 42 at-bats over 17 games this season for the Nationals. He is backup to Pedro Severino, and with any backup catcher, defense comes first.

“He has a real good arm,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Spencer.

The three brothers are the sons of Lynnette and Alswinn Kieboom. Their father was born in The Netherlands and as a teenager moved to the United States.

“I have been once to The Netherlands and want to go again,” Spencer said.

His father played college baseball at Eastern Illinois and one of his teammates was Tim Bogar, the first-year first base coach for the Nationals.

“Small world,” Carter says.

It was also at Eastern Illinois where the elder Kieboom met his wife, who grew up in the Chicago area.

The family lived in South Carolina before moving to Georgia, according to Spencer, who was born in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

Carter Kieboom was a standout at Walton High before he was drafted in the first round by the Nationals in 2016. Last month the shortstop was promoted from Single-A Potomac to Double-A Harrisburg and he has a shot to play in the Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15. He was hitting .313 in the minors in games through Tuesday, including .382 in his first 14 games with Harrisburg.

“I feel really good at the plate,” said Carter, who got off to a slow start for Potomac. “I was hitting, I just had nothing to show for it a lot of times.”

When the boys were young the family moved again from the cul-de-sac in Georgia to a neighborhood where the Walton High baseball field was just a few feet from their front yard about 25 miles north of Atlanta, also in Cobb County.

Having that field right at the door was a blessing.

“It was super convenient. I could see the field from my house. I would walk to school every day,” said Carter, who looks up to his older brothers. “They were in high school then and I went to all of their games. Growing up in a baseball community is extremely beneficial. Being in the South really helps. You get to play year-round. I got to be around guys who truly care about the game.”

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