By Marty Gordon
Two softball players at Radford University have a unique relationship that can be described as sisterly because they are sisters. Maggie and Ellie Rowe even play the same position, behind the plate as catchers and of course, they are roommates.
Ellie was a first team all-conference infielder as a freshman at James River High School near Richmond, where she played with her sister. Ellie was second team all-conference catcher during her sophomore and senior year and helped lead her team to four years of postseason including a pair of regional appearances. She had been recruited by Radford University as a freshman but initially did not come to the New River Valley, where her sister was putting up big numbers.
Maggie started all 55 games last year for Radford with 54 at catcher. She led the team with 44 RBIs, which was seventh most in the best south and is eighth best in a single-season at Radford. She also posted 45 hits and was second on the team with nine home runs.
She hit two home runs for the first time in her career against Western Carolina and tallied a career-high five RBIs and led the Big South by throwing out 16 base runners trying to steal, posting a .996 fielding percentage.
In high school, Maggie was a Dominion District first-team infielder and second-team catcher selection.
Both girls played for the Richmond Diamonds, AAU travel softball team and again taking the field together.
Just like her older sister who sat out the 2016 season because of an injury, Ellie also sustained an injury keeping her from playing last year at Valdosta State before she transferred to Radford.
“Radford had recruited me in my sophomore year, but I ended up going to Valdosta. Things didn’t work out there so I called the coaching staff here, and they told me there was a spot for it if I wanted it,” Ellie said.
The redshirt freshman calls it a bonus she gets to play with her sister. “It’s cool playing with her. We can sometimes just look at each other and know what the other is thinking,” she said with a smile.
In high school, Ellie played shortstop while her sister held down the catching position. “That was cool to both be in the field at the same time,” she continued.
This season that could again happen as Maggie has been practicing at both first base and as the team’s designated hitter.
The coach, Hope Creasy, said each player brings unique characteristics to the program.
“You can always guarantee that you won’t spend time with at least one of them and hear their loud, recognizable, infectious laugh. They lighten the mood and bring a good positive vibe to the team. It’s not often that you get to coach sisters on the same team, but I think they have been good for each other and good for us,” she said.
And oddly enough they both catch, and their coach said it has been awesome to see them work and grow together.
“The accountability that they have for each other and our pitchers is always good to have. I’m excited to see what they will do this season,” Creasy said.
Both players appreciate the time on the diamond together and know its quickly coming to end as Maggie will graduate this year.
“Not many sisters get to play together in college. So, its been great,” Maggie said.
The softball team opens the 2019 season on the road this weekend in a Wilmington, North Carolina, tournament. From there, they will spend another five days in Charleston, South Carolina. Their first home game is slated for February 27 against Virginia Tech.