BY AUSTIN RUSH | The Statesman In her last go-round with the UMD softball team, senior Cayli Sadler is joined by her sister Sammi, a freshman outfielder.
The two regard themselves as teammates before sisters on the field, although their inevitable closeness contributes toward a good team chemistry.
Head coach Jen Walter sees the family bond between the sisters but has also recognized that their role as teammates comes first on the field.
“They are typical sisters,” Walter said. “They will occasionally appear to get annoyed with each other, but get along like you would expect good teammates to.”
Their sibling bond is strong, but that doesn’t clear Sammi from receiving the freshman treatment from her senior teammate.
“If I’m carrying a bucket I’ll just hand it off to her,” Cayli said, chuckling.
According to Sammi, even their dad said that Sammi should be carrying her sisters equipment, a duty of first year players no matter their relation to upperclassmen.
“Even our dad plays the freshman card on me,” Sammi said.
Sammi loves being able to play day in and day out with the person she looks up to. Cayli’s good habits and mindsets have rubbed off on her younger sister.
“Always put your team in front of yourself,” Sammi said. “It doesn’t matter if you get out or make an error, but make sure you keep your head up and carry on—your team will have your back as you should theirs.”
As the season wears on and Cayli’s graduation nears, she hopes to pass the proverbial leadership torch down to Sammi.
“As far as leadership goes, I’m trying to set a good example [and] tell her what works and what hasn’t in the past from a leadership standpoint,” Cayli said. “I think that is what I’m trying to pass on to her as I graduate and she comes in next year as a sophomore.”
The relationship between teammates is a two way street, especially when a teammate is an immediate family member. As a result, the Sadler sisters know when to speak up and drop a word of advice to each other.
“If Sammi is doing something that needs to be improved I’m not afraid to tell her and the same goes for me. She’s not afraid to tell me if she thinks I should do something else,” Cayli said. “Even the other day she told me I was doing this wrong with my swing and I should do this. Obviously it’s a little annoying because it’s my sister and I don’t want to listen to her, but it worked.”
Being able to play together on the same field for Cayli’s final season with the Bulldogs has been a special and unforgettable experience so far for both sisters.
“It’s really cool because I get to play the sport I love with my sister in my last year and it’s great to share that opportunity with her,” Cayli said. “It’s really cool to stand on the mound and see her out in center field.”
Currently, Cayli has 10 of the UMD softball team’s 18 total wins to her credit. The senior pitcher has a team-leading 2.60 earned run average in 86 innings of work this season. Sammi has has appeared in 11 games so far and has three hits and four runs scored in her first collegiate softball experience.