TJ Chiappone Doug Houston Andy Nolan of Bellingham High baseball

What if a boy grew up in a small town playing baseball and not much later knew he’d found his life’s passion; and what if his neighbor, a year younger, felt the same way?

And what if a third boy moved in a stone’s throw from the other two and, yes, got crazy about baseball also?

And what if all three would some day coach the Bellingham High baseball team, in succession no less, starting with TJ Chiappone, who handed the job off to Doug Houston who stepped aside for Andy Nolan? All from the same ‘hood. Talk about keeping it in house.

Three coaches, best friends and one baseball-centric umbilical cord.

They are fathers now, which is why Chiappone, 50, and Houston, 49, are spectators not coaches. Chiappone’s son, Corey, pitches at Assumption College; Houston’s son, Jake, is an infielder at Mass. maritime. Chiappone made the first move, two years ago, coming to the notion that being at his son’s games was paramount. TJ had coached successfully at Bellingham for 22 years. Houston took over, but had the same urge as Chiappone about following his son’s college career.

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