Though playing together on the left side of the infield for the first time in their softball careers, the Broken Arrow Lady Tiger senior shortstop and the freshman third baseman have a certain familiarity with each others game.
Without a score card it is even difficult to tell the steady-fielding, accurate-armed infielders apart. McKenzie – at shortstop, wearing No. 6 – and McKayla – No. 10 at third base – are sisters.
Both girls offered the same phrase – “I thought it would be weird” – when asked about playing alongside each other. Although, neither could completely expound on their shared expression, the younger Carney took a swing at it.
“All these years of playing softball, I’d watch her, and she’d watch me, but we would never be in the same dugout,” McKayla said. “I just thought it would be strange playing with her.”
The experience of playing next to each other has been anything but experimental. Both have fielding percentages above .950, committing just six errors combined in 155 total chances.
“I feel like we know how each other plays,” said McKenzie, four years the elder. “We work well together, because we know each other so well. We’re just really close.”
The conversation transitioned from their defensive locations on the softball diamond to the close proximity of their bedrooms.
“We talk about everything,” McKenzie said. “We’re like best friends. We go to each other more for things, but I guess that’s just growing up.”
“I usually go into her room,” McKayla said, before taking a playful jab at big sister. “But, she usually just kicks me out.”
“I don’t kick her out,” McKenzie reacted. “She is just making stuff up.”
McKayla rolled her eyes and smiled. Both laughed. In a beat, admiration replaced the moment of levity.
“As a person, she is always there for people,” McKayla became more serious. “I can’t explain it, but she is always trying to help people.”
McKenzie’s vocal tone created a verbal canvas as she painted words of admiration about her sister.
“As a freshman, I was on varsity at the end of the season, but I didn’t get to play. If she has a goal that she wants to accomplish then she’ll do whatever it takes. She is driven…as a softball player and as a person.
“She is very, very confident. I wish I was as confident as she is when I was a freshman.”
McKenzie expressed that her confidence level now, as a senior, does match that of her younger sibling. That trait, they agree, is something they share. They also see a correlation in their styles of play, though neither could describe it clearly.
“I think we’re similar as players,” McKayla said. “I think we play different, but it’s kind of the same, you know? I can’t explain it. That’s a hard one. It’s a sister thing.”
McKenzie chimed in. “I know what you’re talking about.” She motions from her head to her sister. “It’s telepathy.”
Whether telepathy or talent, McKenzie and McKayla – hitting first and seventh, respectively in the Lady Tiger lineup – are sisters who have brought depth and a kinship to Coach Randall King’s squad. The duo is second and third in hitting – McKenzie at .486 and McKayla at .463. Thanks to a team-leading 23 walks, however, McKayla does have the higher on-base percentage – .593 to .557.
“It’s been a big deal getting to play together,” McKenzie said. “We’ve talked about this since I was a freshman. My parents couldn’t wait to see us on the field together. One year.”
Emotions turned. Reflection of how quickly these 32 games flashed by could be heard in McKayla’s voice.
“When the season first started, I didn’t realize that getting to play with you wouldn’t last long,” she said.
“I remember you said, ‘this time next year you won’t be here,’” McKenzie recalled. “She got sad.”
McKayla spoke up.
“It was the first home game. I started crying. I mean, I shed like two tears.”
“It counts. I made her cry.”
The sisters’ final regular season home game together is Tuesday against Bartlesville at 6 p.m. (Senior Night). No doubt there will be family tears. But after the pictures and the hugs, it will be back to their comfortable spots, just 20-feet apart on the Lady Tiger infield.
Broken Arrow High School Varsity Cheer just keeps winning.
Gameday State is in its first year as an Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) sanctioned event. And, like it has the past five years in the OSSAA Cheerleading Championships, Tiger Cheer came home with the state title.
“Our routine was unique because we are coed and also added three Jungle Squad members,” said Varsity Cheer coach Amy Howe. “I think having the male cheerleaders and Jungle Squad boys made us stand out and gave that true Gameday feel.”
In the competition’s preliminary round, schools competed in three different events: Crowd Leading, Band Dance and Fight Song. Tiger Cheer swept the top award in each preliminary round. The finals consisted of a combination of all three preliminary round performances.
BA Varsity Cheer participates in regionals Saturday at Bixby as it pursues its unprecedented sixth straight OSSAA Large Co-Ed State Championship. The state competition is Sept. 23 at the University of Oklahoma.
Parents of Broken Arrow High School, Freshman Academy and middle school student-athletes may go online to complete necessary forms to assure their child is eligible to begin participation in school athletics.
The completion of such forms as the Emergency Consent Form, Concussion and Head Injury Acknowledgement Form and the Risk/Insurance/Transportation Consent Form is required before a student is eligible to participate in Broken Arrow athletics. Other online forms parents are required to complete include the OSSAA’s Eligibility and Recruiting Forms, the Social Networking Form and the Drug Testing Consent Form.
To begin completion of the forms parents will need to include their child’s first and last names and know their child’s student ID number. An electronic signature of one parent is required.
Student-athletes are also required to have a current physical on file in order to participate in Broken Arrow school-sponsored athletics.
Online completion of the required forms is more convenient for parents and will streamline the process for Broken Arrow athletic department administrators, coaches and trainers. Visit RankOneSport's website to start the online forms process.