Blanchard twins boost Vikings

Published 9:16 pm Thursday, April 19, 2012

Twin sisters Abby Blanchard, left, and Emily Blanchard have been active in sports together in Hayfield since they were in preschool. Now they're spending their senior year playing softball together for the Vikings. -- Rocky Hulne/

HAYFIELD — At one level or another, Hayfield seniors Abby Blanchard and Emily Blanchard, who are twin sisters, have been on the same team for about as long as they can remember.

They began playing t-ball together as pre-schoolers and went on to play basketball and volleyball together when they were fourth graders.

Now the Blanchard’s are in their last season playing for the Hayfield softball team. The Vikings (3-4 overall) have six seniors on the squad and are hoping for a breakout year.

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“It’s our fourth year with almost the same team, so it’s about time we’re coming around,” Abby said. “All of us used to be super young, but now we’re getting older and the program is getting better. This is the year that we want to go somewhere in the postseason.”

Abby, who plays shortstop, is hitting .467 with an on-base percentage of .529 and she is 10-for-10 on stolen bases to go along with 4 RBIs. Emily, who plays third base, is hitting .400 with an on-base percentage of .471 and she has 3 RBIs.

As far as their ‘twin connection’ goes, Abby and Emily aren’t going to far as saying they’ve mastered telepathy. But there are moments in life and in sports competition where they just seem to know where the other will be.

“We move together, just like we kind of do in all sports,” Abby said. “We don’t ever have to call the ball. If (Emily) goes for it, she just knows I’ll be behind her.”

Emily has improved every season for the Vikings and she said it’s been an exciting process, even going back to her days when she was just learning the game.

“When you’re younger it’s kind of scary being up at the plate,” she said. “But after you get hit a couple of times you realize it’s not that bad. So I’m more confident now.”

The Blanchard’s have always loved playing together, but sometimes it would get a little serious when they played against each other on opposite teams.

At least for one of the sisters.

Abby’s competitiveness is so high that she doesn’t want to watch Emily win at her cost.

“I don’t like to lose to her,” Abby said.

Emily isn’t as bothered by facing off with Abby.

“She’s more competitive and I’m kind of laid back,” Emily said.

Hayfield head coach Jana Wagner said that Emily and Abby have had to step up their game this season as some new talent has forced them to earn their positions. She also said the two have stepped up as leaders.

“They’ve both been working really hard to keep their positions because we have some other players to push them,” Wagner said. “They know it and they’re working hard.”

This season marks the last time Emily and Abby will play high school softball together. But they do plan on playing co-ed softball together in the summers and they will both be going to Sioux City, Iowa for college. Abby will be playing volleyball at Division II Briar Cliff University under a partial athletic scholarship and Emily will definitely be watching some of her sister’s matches.

“We’ll be in the same town, so that’ll be kind of fun and I get to watch her play volleyball next year,” Emily said.

Abby said she’ll still miss playing with her twin sister.

“We’ll still see each other. But this will be our last sport together so it’s sad,” she said.

Hayfield is scheduled to play at Randolph (5-1 overall) Friday at 5 p.m.