May 17th, 2017

Sanders sisters clash on the diamond

Block_0 conor revell

Conor Revell

Staff Writer


Sanders sisters clash on the diamond
Jaelyn Sanders (Male) throwing a pitch to her sister Jordyn (Mercy) / photo by Conor Revell

Julie and Pete Sanders were put into a pressure situation Tuesday night when their daughters Jaelyn and Jordyn faced off against each other.

Jaelyn is a freshman pitcher for Male’s third-ranked softball team while Jordyn is a senior third baseman for Mercy’s 15th-ranked softball team.

It was the top of the sixth inning; Male led 5-3 with two outs. Jaelyn had accidentally let the ball slip out of her hand to walk Abby Wilder to load the bases the batter before.

“Their family is so close,” Male head coach Josh Bloomer said. “I hate that it was those two kids were put in that spot because they’re good kids. I really think a lot of both. I know everybody on both sides was like this is really going to happen. I’ll tell you probably hated it the most – mom and dad. Mom and dad probably wanted a walk and let the next kid decide the game.”

That brought up Jordyn, a Campbellsville signee; it was sister vs. sister and with the game on the line, Julie and Pete may have been the most nervous people in the crowd.

“With it being Jordyn’s senior year, you kind of play the odds,” Pete said. “Jaelyn has three more years. We pulled for both teams. When Jaelyn was pitching and Jordyn was at bat, I wanted Jordyn to give the ball a ride. Get it out of the park.”

With a 1-2 count, Jaelyn struck out her older sister swinging and the Bulldogs went onto win 5-3 in a matchup of Sixth and Seventh Region powers.

“There were a lot of emotions,” Jordyn said. “I was nervous and excited at the same time. The only thing bad was her striking me out. But, I wanted to execute and play for my team. Not against her. I did my best every inning and in the field.”

Perhaps Jaelyn earned a little bit of bragging rights being only a freshman and striking out Jordyn who is a senior.

“Playing my sister was crazy,” Jaelyn said. “The inning with the bases loaded I had two strikes on her and one ball. It was a good moment to remember because this is my sister last year.”

The memories the sisters made Tuesday night is what high school sports are about, 25 years from now the two could be at a family get-together and tell their sons and daughters or nieces and nephews about that game and how it came down to the two of them.

“My heart was hurting for her after the at-bat,” Mercy head coach Greg Meiners said. “I saw her face. It’s a bad deal for somebody all the way around. They love each other, that’s kind of part of it. And Jaelyn is in her third year of varsity softball for Male so she has been in that situation. It’s a lot different than being a freshman here where it’s your first year.”

Perhaps Jaelyn had an advantage in that situation.

“I go to hitting lessons with Josh and Jaelyn,” Jordyn said. “They know my strengths and weaknesses. I believe pitchers have a slight advantage in any situation, but I believe you just have to go up there with the confidence that you’ll get a hit.”

Bloomer was happy with how his freshman responded.

“Here’s the thing about both young ladies,” Bloomer said. “They’re awesome. I know Jordyn well and have worked with her. Any other night, I want that kid to hit that ball out of the park. But in that moment I wanted Jaelyn. But it’s tough, there’s a lot of pressure. She threw some good pitches.”

The two are extremely close off the field; Jaelyn has been to a number of Mercy games this season while Jordyn has been to a handful of Male games.

“They’re very close,” Pete said. “When Jordyn goes off to college next year, Jaelyn is probably going to have to FaceTime her for about two months.”

Jordyn echoed what her dad said.

“We’re best friends,” Jordyn said. “We don’t usually argue or get into fights. I just want her to play good and to not get hurt and to be safe. She wants the same for me.”

Interestingly enough, Jaelyn has been playing fast pitch softball longer than Jordyn. The younger Sanders started playing in sixth grade while Jordyn didn’t play fast pitch until she started at Mercy.

“Jaelyn strong point is her experience,” Pete said. “She sees the field really well and she has a passion for the game. As for Jordyn, she didn’t play fast pitch until she was a freshman. She has worked her way up. Her strongest part of the game is her heart and dedication.”

With it being Jordyn’s last season, her and Jaelyn would love nothing more than for Mercy to win the Sixth Region and for Male to win the Seventh Region title.

“I think it would be awesome if we both could get to state,” Jordyn said. “I’ve played with the Male players and I know them. They’re a good team and I know they would say the same about us. I think we both believe that both teams are going to get state this year.”

That would send the two sisters to the state tournament in Owensboro where the sisters couldn’t meet until the championship game in the winner’s bracket. 

 

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