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Archive for Friday, May 19, 2006

Woodling: Firebirds seeing double

May 19, 2006

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Once upon a time, I think I was taught how to use logarithms to compute actuarial probabilities. Then again, maybe it was algorithms.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure no mathematical equation exists to project what I consider a phenomenon.

I thought it was unique a few years ago when Kansas University's softball roster contained two sets of twins, and I figured I would never see anything like that again.

Oops.

Along comes Free State High's softball team, and guess what? Yep, the Firebirds' roster features two sets of twins.

Go figure the odds. Two sets of twins on two softball teams. In one city. Within a span of about five years.

Free State's double duo: the Abneys and the Hulls.

Livi and Brooke Abney are juniors. They're daughters of former KU assistant baseball coach Steve Abney, now an area scouting coordinator for the Cleveland Indians.

Livi - short for Olivia - plays second base, while her fraternal twin is the first-sacker. Brooke is taller, but she isn't any stronger than Livi.

Brooke's bases-loaded double was the key blow in the Firebirds' 6-1 state-qualifying victory over Wichita Heights the other night. Earlier, Livi had put on a power show in the 8-6 opening-round win over Lawrence High.

In the first inning, Livi homered over the right-center-field fence and in her next at-bat drilled a line drive to left that struck the chain-link fence so hard it stuck, and she had to settle for a ground-rule double.

The Firebirds' other set of twins - Rosie and Maggie Hull - are winding down their ninth-grade years at West Junior High and won't enroll at Free State until this fall. They're both outfielders who throw right and bat left-handed.

Rosie is the Firebirds' leadoff hitter. In the two regional games, she drew three walks, collected a pair of singles, scored three times and drove in one run with a sacrifice fly. Rosie also made a sparkling catch that probably saved three runs because Heights had the bases loaded with two outs.

Maggie didn't play against the Lions, but went 1-for-3 as the designated hitter in the other game. Thus all four of the twins were in the lineup for the clincher.

That wasn't the case when Shelly and Christi Musser and Kelly and Katie Campbell played softball for the Jayhawks. All four were in the same graduating class in 2002, but the Mussers were regulars, while the Campbells were primarily reserves.

Christi Musser, now a member of KU coach Tracy Bunge's staff, and sister Shelly were four-year outfield starters. Shelly was the better base-stealer, but Christi had more power.

Christi is, in fact, the answer to a trivia question. She holds the only school home-run record that has eluded Serena Settlemier. As a junior in 2001, Christi homered three times against Iowa State. Settlemier has never hit more than two homers in one game.

Speaking of trivia, if you toss in football standouts Ryan and Brian Murphy, is Free State the only school in Kansas with three sets of sports twins?

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