Twins in the infield | VailDaily.com

Twins in the infield

Ian Cropp

Shane Macomber/Vail DailyEagle Valley's Amy Strakbein makes contact with a pitch during a game in Gypsum.

GYPSUM – Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third.Abbott and Costello would have enjoyed watching the Strakbein twins play for the Eagle Valley Devils, no doubt.Watching Amy and Morgan play may not be as dizzying as the Abbott and Costello routine, but it’s easy to get the girls confused.”Go Amy. Wait, is that Amy? I mean go Morgan,” a fan shouted during last week’s Eagle Valley Softball Invitational.Even with dyed red hair and the number eight on the back of her jersey, Morgan gets mistaken for her sister by fans, umpires and especially opposing coaches.”We play a lot of teams that wonder, ‘Didn’t she just bat?'” said Bill Beasley, who has coached the girls from the time they were 9 years old. “If I had one twin that was better than the other, then I could switch them at bat, but they are equal in skill level.”For the twins, it doesn’t matter who is at bat – the feeling is still the same.”I get nervous for her,” Amy said.They treat each other like teammates, but because they are kin, it’s easier to offer advice.

“When they are batting, they are looking at the other one and coaching each other all the time,” Beasley said.Class timeThis year in school, they have different schedules for the first time. The separation has given them an opportunity to have a little fun.”I went and took a note to Morgan’s teacher, and she put on my sweatshirt and took a test for me,” Amy said.Rest assured, they have never played a trick on their boyfriends.”I don’t think we’d cross that line,” Morgan said.The twins are gregarious and happy but have distinct personalities and career goals. Amy hopes to be a sports psychologist. Morgan would like to go into law and become a criminal justice lawyer.Inevitably, they will have to be apart. With college on the horizon, they weigh in on the issue of not being able to play or talk side by side.

“It’s going to be so hard,” Morgan said. “Playing softball will be hard, but that won’t be the hardest thing. Not being able to tell her who I have a crush on, who my roommate is – that will be hard. And if I talk about my campus, she won’t be able to picture it in her mind.”Amy will have to look over her left shoulder to see who’s playing shortstop.”We’ve always played next to each other,” Amy said. “It’s all about trust. I know if I can’t get to that ball, it will be an out anyway.”A taste of the futureEarly in the season, Morgan missed some time with a bruised ankle.”Amy never said a word about her sister’s injury,” Beasley said. “I think in the back of her mind she kept looking over her shoulder to see who was at shortstop. When Morgan came back, Amy was more relaxed.”Morgan was happy her ankle was only bruised and that she could continue her softball career. Both girls are excited about the prospects of playing softball in college.Amy is a bit nervous about the transition.

“It will be so lonely,” Amy said. “I’ve never had to go out and make my friends – (Morgan’s) always been my friend, so I’m not really good at going and introducing myself.”Beasley would beg to differ.”Will they fit in? Absolutely,” Beasley said. “There’s not a team around they couldn’t fit in on.”Team players”They are leaders,” Beasley said. “As seniors they are helping the freshman out all the time.”Morgan is happy to assume a leadership role.”As a shortstop, you are the leader,” Morgan said. “You have to demand the intensity, and the teams looks to you.”It just kind of happened that the twins ended up next to each other on the field. When they were younger, however, the twins weren’t always positioned next to each other.

“They’ll play wherever you want them to play,” Beasley said. “When they started out, I put one at pitcher and one at catcher.”For the past six years, they have played with the same teammates.”We’ve grown up with this team, and it’s so cool to have this much unity,” Morgan said. “We can’t stop laughing when we are all together.They’ve been apart from their teammates in the off-season but not from each other.”The longest we’ve been apart is a weekend,” Amy said.Next year will be a challenge, but they are too busy enjoying life now to worry.”Having your sister as your best friend is great,” Morgan said. “When you have the drama of the high school teenager girl stuff, I can always tell her what I’m really feeling.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado