Patrick Magee

Double Trouble: Cade twins among returning talent for Harrison Central

The Harrison Central softball team's pitcher and catcher raced toward each other and embraced Friday afternoon at the end of their championship clinching win over South Panola.

For those on hand who had never seen Harrison Central play before, they likely noticed for the first time that the Red Rebelettes' catcher, who tossed her mask aside, was the identical twin of the pitcher. The catcher is Kayla Cade and the pitcher is Kristen Cade.

The players hugged it out just like you would expect twin sisters to do - two identical beaming faces pressed against each other in the middle of the field. They were soon joined by their teammates in an overjoyed pile near the pitcher's circle.

Harrison Central won its third consecutive Class 6A state championship by sweeping through South Panola in two games by scores of 14-3 and 7-1. During a time when state championships have been hard to come by for Coast schools in most sports, Harrison Central made it look easy against the north's best team to offer.

A look ahead

What has to be to be scary for the rest of the state is that Harrison Central appears in good position to build in on its current run of state titles.

The Cade twins are sophomores.

The third baseman who hit a two-run homer in the first inning, Amari Ramsey, is a junior.

The designated hitter who batted behind Ramsey and went 2-for-3 with an RBI is freshman Zharia Richardson.

The shortstop who made several nice plays on defense, Jhericka Strickland, is a freshman.

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Of the 10 players who were in the lineup for Harrison Central Friday, only two were seniors - center fielder Simone McKinney and first baseman Madison Burge.

The loss of Burge and McKinney will be significant for Harrison Central. They will likely go down as two of the best to ever play for the Red Rebelettes, who already have a total of four state championships.

Twin talk

In fast-pitch softball, you are in great shape when you have a pitcher-catcher duo that can control the game. Harrison Central will have that for the next two years in the Cade twins.

The two players offer a bit of a competitive edge through the twin factor.

"It's awesome because we always know what we're thinking, what each other is feeling and when to bring each other back up when one is down," Kristen said.

As it is with almost any set of siblings, the back-and-forth between the two during the course of a game is colorful. During the heat of competition, the Cade twins are looking for ways to keep each other on edge.

"She likes to say mean things," Kristen said. "We do a harsh commentary to each other and it just brings each other up and we make each other laugh."

What does the catcher say to the pitcher when the pitches are a little off target?

"She'll come to the mound and say get your stuff together," Kristen said.

When informed that her twin had spilled the beans on their banter during a game, Kayla Cade sheepishly admitted that she uses a little verbal jabbing to keep her sister on point.

"I mean, yeah," she said. "She wasn't supposed to tell you that."

At the moment, there's no greater representative for the Coast in high school sports than the Harrison Central softball team. The rest of the area's teams should learn from that the Red Rebelettes' loose approach and gritty attitude.

Contact Patrick Magee at pmagee@sunherald.com and follow him on Twitter @CoastCoverage.

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