Teammates now, sisters forever

Softball: Siblings Brittany and Brooke Owen are turning rivalry into revelry as the two help No. 1 Chesapeake move to postseason dreams.

High Schools

May 09, 2004|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Tom Owen enjoys the view twice as much this softball season.

A volunteer assistant coach for the top-ranked Chesapeake Cougars, he looks over at third base and finds his oldest daughter, Brittany, a senior All-Metro first-team pick with a slick glove and knack for driving in big runs.

He then glances behind Brittany and there's his younger daughter, Brooke, a freshman left fielder who has played like anything but a freshman this season.

Brittany and Brooke: captain and rookie, cleanup hitter and leadoff hitter, big sister and little sister.

"It didn't really dawn on me until a few weeks ago, I was like, `Man, Brittany is doing great and Brooke is doing great, too.' And here I am, the dad with two kids on the same team both doing well. What more can I ask for?" said Tom Owen.

Pose that question to Brittany and she won't hesitate to reply. She wants to bring home a state title and she'd be happy to share.

Last season, the Cougars were one out from beating eventual Class 4A champion North County to reach the state tournament, but an infield pop that fell got in the way.

This spring, the Cougars are 16-3 overall and in first place in the county with a 13-2 mark going into the final week of the regular season. "To go all the way, it will take everything we have and I know we can do it," said Brittany.

So far the Owen sisters - both three-sport athletes (Brittany plays soccer and basketball, Brooke plays soccer and runs track) - have done their part.

Although Brittany, 18, is only 5 feet tall, she packs a lot of power at the plate with a .417 batting average that includes 21 RBIs and 20 runs.

Switch-hitting Brooke, 14, relies on her quick bat and speed to get on base and go, hitting .387 with 13 stolen bases and 20 runs.

Don't hit it near them, either. Brittany - who is still undecided on a college but plans to study physical education - has not committed an error this season at third. After misplaying her first chance, Brooke has played flawlessly in left.

"The two of them have been unbelievable this season," said Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger. "I'm sure their competitiveness gets to them at home - who's batting what and that kind of stuff - but all both of them do is go out and give 100 percent."

For Brittany, having her little sister tag along to the pizza joint after games took a little getting used to, but Brooke is fitting in just fine.

Maybe too fine?

"Sometimes Brittany gets like, `Don't come with us,' but all the girls are like `We want Brooke to come,' " said junior center fielder Emily Bolling. "It's like Brooke is moving in on some of Brittany's space. I think it has hit Brittany a little - her sister isn't a little kid anymore. She's adjusted to it and now she likes having Brooke around and we all have fun."

Both sisters say they have grown closer since softball season started.

Brittany helped Brooke find her classes at school in the fall. When little sister pops out, big sister is there to tell her to quit dropping her shoulder. And now they talk more at home - mostly Cougars' softball these days - and watch more TV together.

"This has been a good experience and the only time we'll get the chance to do it, so we have to have fun and try to do well," said Brooke.

Said Tom Owen: "We've been looking into colleges for Brittany and I sit back and think [there's] about seven or eight games left and it's going to be all over. This has just been a really unique time and we're all enjoying it."

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