Several groups of local sisters, led by Carlow's Youngs, pair up at college level
When umpires work Carlow University softball games, they are extra cautious before they make a safe call — as in, is it safe to go near the Young sisters when they're locked into one of their classic arguments?
Leechburg sisters Kaysie and Kenzie Young, often holding down the left side of the infield at third base and shortstop, respectively, are known to kick up the dust when one of them displeases the other.
Opposing players take notice; often, it's Youngs and the restless when they tangle.
“We'll disagree on something and we'll yell at each other while the pitcher's warming up,” said Kaysie, a senior who also plays center field. “The umpire will ask our coach or teammates, ‘Do they always fight like that?' They answer back, ‘It's OK, they're sisters.' ”
Last weekend during a game at Alice Lloyd (Ky.), Kaysie overcooked a cutoff throw and Kenzie let her have it.
“The umpire was yelling at us to calm down,” Kaysie said. “We just laughed. We know the game and we understand each other on a different level.”
Just a freshman, Kenzie was tied for the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference lead in home runs (8) and RBIs (34), while batting .402, through 30 games for the Celtics (18-14). The homers and RBIs also lead the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
She's struck out a few times, err, lost a few arguments, against her sister.
“We work together,” said Kenzie, who bats fourth, two spots after her sister. “It's easier to talk to your sister; you're not as afraid to hurt her feelings. I'll tell her she didn't cut it, she'll tell me I'm swinging for the fences. It's just what we do. We're two peas in a pod.”
The Youngs are relishing their one season in the sun together. Kaysie will stay another year to continue to study corporate communications, but soon will be done with softball. Kenzie has three more years with the team.
A similar situation exists at Penn State New Kensington where softball-playing sisters Bridget and Claire Fisher from Burrell are enjoying a season together.
Bridget is a senior shortstop and pitcher, Claire a freshman outfielder/pitcher. The girls have used their multi-layered bond as sisters and teammates as a coping mechanism to deal with the loss of their father.
Scott Fisher died in September. He was 55.
“My dad was our biggest supporter so playing this softball season without him is extremely difficult,” Bridget said. “But with my sister on the same team, there is endless support from one another; a bond that has strengthened us as sisters and as players.
“Playing softball together now reminds us of all the times we spent with him over the years.”
There are other local sister tandems as well. Some are roommates. Some have classes together. All of them are best friends.
Seton Hall also has a pair of former Burrell players in the Moses siblings, Casey and Jordan. Both are juniors; Casey pitches and Jordan is a first baseman.
“Sometimes it's hard being so far away from home, so it's great always having my best friend with me.,” Jordan said. “(Casey) is always around to do extra fielding and hitting with me, and I'm always up for helping her work on pitches when she needs a catcher.”
Although their sport is not currently in season, Valley's Bonk sisters walk the same campus as the Youngs and are teammates on Carlow's volleyball team. Carly Bonk is a sophomore outside hitter and Kelsey is a defensive specialist.
Kenzie Young's power surge has been impressive. She could clear fences at Leechburg, but was known more for being a strikeout pitcher.
“I think it's odd that I'm hitting home runs; I'm only 5-foot-3,” she said. “I feel really small out there. All the other home-run hitters are like 5-9. I don't understand where it's coming from.”
Maybe it's because Kenzie has washed her hands of pitching and has a new focus. Or, it could stem from her gaining strength while rehabilitating a broken right fibia, an injury she sustained during her final high school basketball season.
The girl who wants to be a nurse has nursed herself back to prime form.
The older sister doesn't exactly tower over the younger one, but she respects her game greatly. Kaysie said, “I'm three inches taller than her but I'm only 5-6 and I still look like a 4-year-old out there.”
“(Kenzie) is such a hard worker,” said Kaysie, who has 18 runs and 16 RBIs. “When she hit her first home run, she looked at me and said, ‘I feel it coming.' When she hits home runs, it's usually on a streak. She's very fit and just pounding the crap out of the ball.”
A third Young sister, Lexie, is a freshman at Leechburg. She'll just miss playing on the same team as her sisters.