In the world of baseball and softball, a double play is sometimes referred to a “twin killing.”
Well, the softball program at Itawamba Community College in Fulton recently acquired a double play of twins from the same program, as DeSoto Central seniors Ellie and Mattie Meine both have signed letters of intent to play at the school.
Their twin commitments mark a continued trend of DeSoto County athletes choosing to continue their athletic and academic careers at Itawamba.
DeSoto Central coach Phyllis Hicks thinks it will be a good move for them to continue playing at the next level for the same team once their Lady Jag careers are finished.
“It’s going to be a great memory for them in their lifetime,” Hicks said. “Most siblings don’t get to play together in high school, much less get to go to play in college. It’s definitely a rarity and I think it’s going to be a great experience.”
The combination has been a successful one for Ellie and Mattie, who have also played together on the dominating volleyball program of the Lady Jags coached by Margaret Falatko.
But softball is where their hearts have been and Itawamba is where they plan to settle in together as a softball home for the next two years.
“I felt very comfortable there,” said Ellie. “Everyone that I talked to just made me feel at home. I really like the campus and I enjoyed looking around the school and thinking about myself being around there in the future.”
“We talked about it,” Mattie added about where to be next season. “We talked about going separate ways, we talked about going to the same place and we were fine with either one, but our home is Itawamba for both of us. I played at a camp there two summers ago and when I was playing on the field, everything just felt right.”
Ellie has been used primarily has a centerfielder while Mattie has anchored the infield at shortstop for the Lady Jags, which last season reached the first round of the MHSAA 6A playoffs before being eliminated in three games by Tupelo.
“Both of them have incredible gloves,” Hicks said about their fielding prowess. “They’re very reliable fielders and both have very reliable arms.”
But they also are quite confident behind the plate.
Mattie hit .506 in 29 games last spring with 14 doubles and 31 runs batted in. Meanwhile, Ellie was close behind with a batting average of .380 in 29 games, while she drove in 17 runs and hit four doubles.
Their talents allowed the pair to also play together in one special game, the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star series.
That is where Mattie was named the Most Outstanding Player for the North All-Stars, followed by a similar award as Most Outstanding Player for the All-Star Volleyball contest, another rarity for girls’ high school sports in Mississippi.
But, both are excited to be heading to Fulton and playing on the same diamond as they continue their careers after they leave the school on Central Parkway.
“It kind of turned out that way,” Ellie said. “I think we were OK with going different places but it just ended up that we thought that Itawamba might be the best place for us.”
“It’s good to finally have the decision and not have to think about it for the rest of the year, but it’s also nice to know that I’m going to a place where I can call home,” Mattie added.
Under coach Andy Kirk last season, the Indians finished with a record of 39-14 overall, 23-5 in the MACJC North Division. Kirk has led Itawamba to six seasons of 30 or more victories and is a perennial Top-20 power in the national junior college ranks.
Where ever Kirk will need the Meine twins, starting in the spring of 2019, Hicks felt they will be ready to help continue the Indians’ success.
“They’re so versatile and so athletic that it doesn’t really matter what they will be needing, Hicks said. “They can fill in whatever hole they will be needing at the time.”
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.