Rising Stars: On The Softball Ride With Lauren & Hannah Camenzind

null

Every once in a while, DeMarini Aces 16U coach Ryan Taylor has to pinch himself to make sure he isn’t dreaming. It’s a rare luxury to have a pair of identical twins on the same team who both possess top-level talent. Since forming the Aces in 2010, Taylor has coached three sets of identical twins, with the first two going on to Division I schools.

Lauren and Hannah Camenzind are the latest set making a splash with the Aces, who are based in Kansas City.

“To both be evenly skilled at different things, and to be able to contribute is really rare,” Taylor said. “The fact we’ve been able to do it a third time now is very strange.”

The Camenzinds, who live in Valley, Nebraska, outside of Omaha, may be identical in many ways, but they each have their own special skill set. Lauren, the oldest by 19 minutes, is a right-handed-hitting shortstop who also catches. Hannah is a lefthanded pitcher and power hitter. Both are consistently at or near the top in many of the Aces’ offensive categories. As freshmen at Skutt Catholic School, each made the Class B All-State and All-Conference teams.


The girls began playing rec ball at an early age. When their parents, Chad and Amanda, encouraged them to try out for a select team, Lauren was eager. Her sister, however, had a different reaction.

“Hannah didn’t want to go; she cried,” Lauren recalled, laughing. “Our parents took us, and we weren’t very good (at first). We didn’t know much about it, but we made the team.”

The girls worked hard to improve. Taylor remembers their raw ability when he first saw them play and was impressed with their athleticism.

“I thought there was room to grow,” he said. “But that’s the fun part, being able to coach kids and see (how they develop). We had the chance to pick them up, and we try and create a culture of work ethic, practice, and getting together. They really enjoyed it and bought in.”

Neither girl felt any additional pressure being on the same team. In fact, they are just as competitive against each other as they are playing together, and the stakes don’t always involve sports.

“When we were little, our grandpa used to watch this wrestling show,” Hannah recalled. “We had this title belt. Our parents would use it against us: the first one to clean your plate wins a title belt for the night or the first one to get to bed. That was always fun.”

As a freshman at Skutt Catholic, Hannah won 12 games in the circle with a 3.28 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 70.1 innings. She batted .540 and led the team in homers, RBI, and doubles. Lauren hit .526 and was the SkyHawks’ leader in hits. The team won its district and placed third in the Class B state tournament.

Hannah has become a dominant two-way player for the Aces. Taylor likes the advantage she gives the team by being left-handed at the plate and in the circle.

“Lefties can have a bit less (velocity) and they really have a natural spin and a more deceptive ability than a right-hander,” he explained. “She’s very good offensively, having a lefty swing and a lot of power, consistency, and very low strikeout percentage.”


Hannah also has a knack for getting the clutch hit. She recalls one game in which the SkyHawks were playing the second-ranked team in a higher class, and she came to the plate with the game on the line.


“They intentionally walked the girl before me,” she said. “My sister was on second base. I was already 3-for-3. On the first pitch, I hit a line drive up the middle, and we won the game.”

As a backup catcher, Lauren occasionally has the opportunity to be her sister’s battery mate. Most pitchers and catchers need time to develop chemistry with one another, and sometimes never do. That isn’t a problem for the Camenzind twins.

“If she misses her spot, I don’t have to call time,” Lauren explained. “She knows what she needs to do just by looking at me, or I’ll give her a look.”

Lauren loves the ability to be aggressive and go after balls at shortstop. Taylor is particularly impressed with her instincts.

“You can’t teach that,” he said. “She has the instincts to be in the right spot. She has such a great read for the ball and understanding hops. I’m a firm believer that kids either have that or they don’t.”

Lauren may be the older twin, but she acknowledges Hannah is more of the take-charge type. What do the sisters think of each other’s game?

“Hannah’s very talented,” Lauren said. “She’s always the kid who gets the hit when you need it. (In the circle), she’s grown a lot with her pitches, velocity and her movement.”

Hannah believes her sister has steadily improved as a shortstop.

“There are a lot of places where she takes away hits,” Hannah said. “At the plate, she rarely strikes out. She has a good eye.”

As the girls prepare for their sophomore year of high school, they already know they want to continue playing together for a major college program. According to Lauren, the most valuable lesson they have learned about the recruiting experience has come from their parents.

“Be humble and don’t let (the experience) get too big, because we still have a lot of work to do,” she said.

Schools from several major conferences have shown interest in the twins, both individually and collectively. While this may present a unique situation, Taylor doesn’t believe it will be a problem for the girls to commit as a package deal.

“It’s important for them to go together,” he explained. “I think they want their parents to be able to watch them together. They truly both can compete at a high ceiling.”

Like Taylor, the college coach fortunate enough to sign the pair will undoubtedly be convinced they have hit the jackpot.

Rising Star: How 2020 Pitcher Taylor Caudill Adapts & Thrives

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Monarchs 16U Gold right-hander Taylor Caudill is used to proving people wrong. When the southern California native decided to play softball exclusively, people told her she was too short. But she played anyway and even experienced a growth spurt (she’s currently 5-foot-9).

USSSA Pride Part Ways With The NPF, Opt For Non-Renewal

USSSA Pride announced that they will not be renewing their partnership with the National Pro Fastpitch league after 11 years.

WBSC Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifier: How To Watch, Time, & Live Stream Info

null

The WBSC Softball Asia/Oceania Qualifier will stream LIVE on FloSoftball from Shanghai, China September 23-28. The top six National Teams from the Asian Softball Cup final standings and the top two ranked National Teams from Oceania will play for the last remaining spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Rising Star: 2022 Ace Kylee Magee Keeps It All In The Sun Devil Family

As the youngest of seven children and the only girl in a very athletic family, it was inevitable that Kylee Magee would participate in sports. The only question was: which one would she be the most passionate about?

U17 Women's National Team Roster Announced For Pan Am Softball Championship

null

OKLAHOMA CITY — USA Softball is proud to field a USA Softball U-17 Women’s National Team (WNT) that will compete at the U-17 Women’s Pan American Softball Championship, slated to be held October 11-19 in Barranquilla, Colombia.  The 15-player roster will look to qualify for the 2020 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup (WSWC) and will be led by Head Coach Kyla Holas (Pasadena, Texas) and Assistant Coaches Becky Snow (Albany, N.Y.) and Ernie Yarbrough (Owasso, Okla.).

Mark Montgomery Named Maryland Head Softball Coach

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Director of Athletics Damon Evans officially announced the hiring of Mark Montgomery as the fifth head coach in the history of the University of Maryland's softball program.

Rising Star: 2022, Second Baseman Georgia-Commit Jaydyn "Shorty" Goodwin

null

At 5-foot-3, Jaydyn Goodwin has become accustomed to playing with and against taller girls practically her whole life. When she was eight, she took the initiative to insist everyone call her Shorty from that moment on.

Team Canada Qualifies For Softball 2020 Olympics

Canada became today the fifth qualified nation for the Olympic Games softball competition in Tokyo 2020. The host team secured its ticket with a 7-0, five-innings win over Brazil. Kaleigh Rafter belted a walk-off home run to center field in the bottom fo the fifth episode and sent Canada to its fifth Olympic Games.

Team Mexico Women's Softball Advances To 2020 Olympics

Mexico sealed today its qualification to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, with a 2-1 victory over Canada, in front of a fully packed Softball City stadium. Dallas Escobedo went the distance, allowing only 3 hits with 9 strikeouts. Mexico joins Japan, USA and Italy as the fourth qualified nation to the six-team softball competition in Tokyo. It will be the first Olympic participation ever for the Mexican Softball National Team.

NCAA Division I Softball Recruiting Calendar 2019-20

null

With summer ball ending, here are some important dates and rules to remember.