Published 10:47 pm Friday, May 10, 2013
Sisters Ashley and Taylor Roten live in Suffolk and play high school softball, but whenever they share the field, it is on opposite teams.
The Roten family lives in an area zoned for Lakeland High School where Taylor, a freshman, attends. Her older sister Ashley, a junior, has attended King’s Fork High School since her freshman year, because she is enrolled in an International Baccalaureate diploma program unique to that school. The program is helping her work toward her goal of entering the field of biomedical sciences.
Now that Taylor plays for Lakeland’s varsity team, the sisters had their first meeting earlier this season and faced one another again last night at King’s Fork. Ashley described what it has been like playing Taylor.
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“We’re both very competitive, and we’ll walk around the house and be like, ‘I’m going to beat you,’” she said. “‘I hope you don’t hit the ball to me. I’m going to catch it. Better tell your teammates if they hit the ball to me, I’m going to get them.’ We just joke around and stuff like that.”
Taylor, who despite being younger is actually the taller one, said that playing Ashley is “definitely different. It’s kind of funny when we go against each other, and she’ll hit it to me or something and try to beat me and whatnot, so it’s kind of like a fun little rivalry, because I’ve never played against her.”
Both sisters admitted that when they face each other, it noticeably affects the way they play.
“Last time we were playing, she was at third, and I’m a slapper, so normally everything I hit (goes to the) left side, and I made a point not to hit it to her,” Ashley said.
Taylor explained whether or not she tries to hit in Ashley’s direction.
“I try to avoid it because I knew she’s going to do everything she can to try to get me out,” she said.
The sisters have similarities both on and off the field. Both now play the same position, left field, and both bat left. They are also competitive when it comes to academics.
“I feel like she always tries to prove to our parents that me and her aren’t really different, that she can be good in academics and softball too, so I guess, yeah, she does look up to me,” Ashley said of Taylor.
Taylor could not help but agree.
“As much as I don’t want to admit it, I definitely do look up to her as a role model, I definitely do,” she said. “I want to be like her when I get older.”
When it comes to King’s Fork vs. Lakeland games, their father, Jayson Roten, said, “One thing me and their momma can agree on, we know which game to go to.”
He cited their strategy on how to show their support to both girls.
“We kind of stand in the middle,” he said.
Lakeland has had a difficult season, entering Friday’s game with a 4-12 record, while King’s Fork came in 12-7.
Taylor has handled this contrast well, knowing her team is young and has time to develop. The first meeting between the two schools ended in a 13-0 win for the Lady Bulldogs. Ashley shared her conflicted feelings.
“I wanted to see my sister succeed, but at the same time, I wanted my team to win, and actually, my sister was the only one to get a hit off of Sydney (Wash),” she said. “So, I was proud of her.”
Ashley carried the same feelings into Friday’s game, which turned out to be much closer. Lakeland took an early 1-0 lead before the Lady Bulldogs ended up with a narrow 2-1 win.
“We played really good,” Taylor said. “This is the best game of our season, probably.”
Ashley scored the tying run at the bottom of the third.
“That kind of sucked,” Taylor said. “I wanted to get her out, but she did good too.”
The elder sister said, “I feel like it was very well-matched, and that they got extremely better, and that next year, they’re going to be more of a threat to us.”