The sharp crack of the bat sends a jolt through the crowd and the home side erupts into cheers as the visitors hold their breath. The runner races around the diamond, toward home plate. The sprint ends in a cloud of red dirt as she slides into the plate, hoping to beat the ball thrown in from the outfield. The umpire stands with his arms outstretched at his sides, announcing the word “safe” to the crowd. In the dugout, junior Jesika Miller celebrates with her sister, freshman Lili Miller, and the team.
Jesika and Lili Miller play on the varsity softball team together. They will play against Spring Hill on Tuesday.
“It’s really awesome to be able to play with my sister because there’s this mutual relationship that we have where we both love each other and we really lift each other up,” Lili Miller said. “Whether we’re having a really bad day or if we’re having a really good day we can be there together and play off each other’s energy.”
They both started playing softball when they were really young, after their parents signed them up. Jesika Miller started playing baseball when she was three years old and transitioned into softball and Lili Miller started playing softball when she was five years old.
“Our older sister is 9 years older than us and she got into softball,” Jesika Miller said. “Our parents decided to sign us up because we were always there at the field.”
The sister’s played on different club teams until Jesika started playing in the 16U classification and Lili played up a level. Each classification ranges five years, so a player can play up into the classification as long as they fit into the age range.
“We would both play against girls that were 18 years old and stuff like that,” Jesika Miller said. “When we went into high school, we were used to playing with each other but now we are playing on the high school team, so it hasn’t changed much. We still fight and have fun and encourage each other.”
Jesika Miller plays as a third baseman and Lili Miller plays in the outfield, depending on where she is needed. Jesika Miller also plays as shortstop and second baseman on her club team.
“[Jesika] works super hard and she’s really amazing,” Lili Miller said. “I know that she puts all of her effort forth and even when she’s having a really bad day, she still works her hardest. That really pushes me to work my hardest and to my best because I know that she’s right there with me.”
Both sisters work hard at playing and leave it all on the field. They both plan on playing softball in college.
“I know that if [Lili’s] playing, I can depend on her,” Jesika Miller said. “I know that she can do work and be effective on the field and I know that we all have bad days but I know that as soon as we get onto the field, Lili thinks about others, other than just herself and that’s a really nice thing to have in a teammate and a sister.”