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Tom Mix, Published May 30 2012

E-MV softball twin sisters spark state berth as battery mates

Enderlin, N.D. - Experience counts when it comes to a rapport between a pitcher and a catcher.

A battery that has posted few innings together might show its inexperience, but a battery with many innings to its credit usually performs consistently at a high level.

When it comes to experience as a softball pitching-catching tandem, not many have more time served together than Enderlin-Maple Valley’s Megan and Kaylee Johnson. The sophomore twin sisters have literally been together since Day 1.

Kaylee is the pitcher and Megan takes care of the catching and pitch-calling duties.

“I think we are doing pretty well together,” said Kaylee Johnson, who throws left-handed. “We definitely have bonded more as sisters. Megan calls all the pitches, which is really helpful. It’s also nice so I just don’t have to wing it.”

The Johnson twins have helped the Falcons to a 15-1 record. They earned the South Region’s top seed in the inaugural North Dakota Class B state softball tournament, which begins today at Elmwood Park in West Fargo. Enderlin-Maple Valley plays Pembina County North in the first round.

“It has been fun sharing the season with my sister,” Megan Johnson said. “As the catcher, you can kind of read what she wants to throw. If a pitch doesn’t work for her, I can always change it and go with what works.”

Most of what Kaylee and Megan have done this season has worked. Kaylee Johnson is 15-1 with 132 strikeouts and a 1.65 earned run average in 92 innings pitched in her first full season as the Falcons’ No. 1 pitcher.

“We have seen for a couple of years that she was going to be good,” Enderlin-Maple Valley head coach Neva Hamre said. “Kaylee knew she was going to be our go-to pitcher this year and she has worked hard. The more she pitches the better she gets.”

The Falcons’ southpaw recorded a complete-game shutout against Class A Fargo South on April 20 and followed that performance with a perfect game against Kindred-Richland four days later.

“It definitely boosted my self-confidence and our team’s confidence as well,” Kaylee Johnson said.

“It was really fun knowing that I was a part of a perfect game,” Megan Johnson said. “It was really special sharing it with Kaylee. She threw really well. It is not something everyone gets to do. It is really rare.”

Megan Johnson also helps Kaylee in the run support department. She is batting .569 and leads the team with seven home runs and 32 RBIs.

Megan’s ability to work with Kaylee is another area where her talents prove valuable.

“I can read Kaylee’s emotions,” Megan Johnson said. “If she is having a bad game, I can usually calm her down and give her something easy to throw.”

“Megan calls good games,” Hamre said. “I don’t pitch call. It is all between those two. They take care of it.”

Being twins, they sometimes get pegged as two of a kind, but that is not the case. They each have a distinct personality on the softball field.

“Megan is more laidback, and I guess I’m a little more loud and vocal,” Kaylee Johnson said.

Like every set of siblings, there is the occasion where they might not always see eye to eye, but overall Enderlin-Maple Valley’s Johnson & Johnson battery has performed this spring.

“Some days they are not very happy with each other and the next day they are extremely happy with each other,” Hamre said. “They are pretty tight and I think that has helped us out a lot.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562

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