The A-team: Twin sisters bring tenacity to RaptorsOff the field, twin sisters Ali and Amanda Robinson are as sweet as can be. But, get them between the lines and it’s a different story.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
Off the field, twin sisters Ali and Amanda Robinson are as sweet as can be. But, get them between the lines and it’s a different story.
Though small in stature and young in age, the Robinson sisters bring confidence, athleticism and tenacity to the East Ridge girls softball team.
East Ridge head coach Tom Nemo said the two players’ “offensive attack” is their biggest strength.
“They’re not afraid to get up in the batter’s box and take their hacks,” Nemo said. “They’re mature beyond their years. It doesn’t matter what grade they’re in.”
As eighth-graders both Ali and Amanda Robinson were called up to the varsity softball team at East Ridge midway through last season. Now freshmen, the duo starts every game for the Raptors varsity squad. The Robinsons play next to each other in the outfield and bat back-to-back in the East Ridge lineup. Currently, Amanda hits seventh and Ali bats eighth.
“Last year we were having a tough time scoring runs and we needed a little spark,” Nemo said. “They had caught our coaches’ eyes in tryouts. I thought we should give them an opportunity. They haven’t been out of the lineup since. They’re fun to watch.”
The Robinson sisters have been playing softball since they were 4 years old. They live in Woodbury with their mom and dad – Pam and Richard – and brother Austin, a junior at East Ridge. They said playing varsity as eighth-graders was a challenge they were happy to accept.
“It was scary, but we got used to it,” Amanda Robinson said. “As the season went on we felt a little more pressure on us, but it was even more fun.”
Ali and Amanda Robinson also are varsity basketball players and standout volleyball players for East Ridge. Being teammates and sharing a number of classes, the sisters said they spend a lot of time together. They said they’re competitive with one another and push each other to be the best they can be.
“We definitely get in fights all the time,” Amanda Robinson said. “But, it’s not like we can stay mad at each other. After five minutes we’ll be OK and laughing about it.”
Some twins, even some identical twins, don’t look exactly alike. But, that’s not the case with Ali and Amanda. Both are the same size and shape and have matching hairstyles. They even each have slight scars on their chins from falls when they were younger.
“We feel like we look a lot different,” Ali Robinson said. “I can’t picture my face when I look at her. Everyone says we look exactly the same. But, I don’t see it.”
Amanda was born one minute before Ali and has a freckle on her nose that Nemo said helps him tell them apart.
“It’s fun. I can tell them apart now. I look for the freckle,” he said. “Most of the girls know who is who. We have fun with it. I tell the girls they can’t even tell them apart and they go to school with them. They’re as identical as they come.”
Amanda Robinson said they’ve had some fun with being so similar in appearance. She said they’ve even gone to each other’s classes in the past.
“But then we freaked out because we thought we’d get caught and get in trouble,” Amanda said.
Ali said the two of them are very close.
“It’s OK when people don’t know us and they ask us those questions to learn how to tell us apart. But, after a long time and they don’t know us it’s kind of annoying,” Ali said. “But, it’s fun. We’re best friends for sure.”
When Nemo took the job at East Ridge before last season, he said he had heard about the Robinson twins, so they didn’t take him by surprise.
“I heard they were fast and athletic,” he said. “They opened our eyes in tryouts. They’re very aggressive when they step between the lines.”
Though Ali and Amanda said they often have “sisterly” moments, Nemo said he’s never had any issues with them.
“They’re two very coachable girls,” Nemo said. “They ask for extra batting practice and they don’t make excuses. That’s a plus — their maturity. And they have four years left after this. That’s fun to think about.”