Sports

SIMILARLY DIFFERENT

A cursory glance reveals a

host of similarities — a

love of horses, a passion for music and fervor for making runs on the softball diamond.

Those things aside, twins Andrea and Caitlin Henning, both Klahowya seniors, aren’t as identical as their striking red hair hints at, but they still make a dynamic team on the field.

Andrea, a catcher, and Caitlin, a pitcher, grew up in Seabeck as best friends who “hung out all the time,” Andrea said. Now, as the twins get older, their interests are changing, but both remain true to the sport they have played since childhood.

“Softball has been a long and great experience,” Andrea said. “We still have a lot to learn, but it’s awesome. The girls are great and I’m going to miss everyone.”

Playing with her twin — on and off the field — has been a fun experience, she added.

“The best part of being twins is she’s always there for me and we work well together. The worst part is we share whatever is on our mind, even if it’s bad. Sometimes we’ll get angry with each other.”

Caitlin, who said she constantly reminds her sister that she is four minutes older, agreed.

“She’s my best friend,” she said. “But the most difficult part of (playing as) siblings is that we’re twins and when something is difficult, we let each other know.”

Regardless, that open bond is what makes the twins work well together, said Klahowya softball coach Jodie Woolf.

“They’re twins, but they’re very different kids,” she said. “Caitlin’s got the typical pitcher’s drive. She wants the pressure and she does well under pressure. Andrea is a workhorse. She works hard and she’ll do anything you ask. She would prefer to play in the infield, but she knows the team needs her at catcher. So she’s back there busting her butt every day and that tells what kind of character she has.”

Andrea said her favorite memory of playing softball came during tryouts this year.

“Coach Woolf asked, ‘Where do you play besides pitcher?’ Caitlin said, ‘The bench’ and started walking over there.”

It is that humorous disposition — and patience — that makes it easy to play with her twin, Andrea said.

“When I call something she doesn’t like, she’ll shake it off,” she said. “But that’s OK because I’m still learning the position. I’m out of shape because I haven’t caught for four years. I was at second base last year. It’s been difficult.”

Caitlin agreed, adding that they have been helping each other with softball as long as she can remember.

“I don’t remember when she first started catching for me,” she caught for me when I first started.”

Woolf said the team is fortunate to have a battery that knows each other so well.

“It’s interesting because they know each other so well that they don’t even have to talk really,” she said. “Andrea knows when Caitlin is having a bad day and when certain things aren’t going to work. She knows when to push her a little harder and make her throw more difficult pitches. I don’t think you could ask for battery that knows each other any better than this.

“At the same time, you always have those sibling rivalries where they’re on each other’s nerves that day. But they’ve been a pretty good team.”

Justin Murray, a senior at Klahowya and friend of the twins since eighth grade, said both Andrea and Caitlin are great friends.

“They’re just so good to be around,” the wrestler said. “You can’t exactly pick what makes them good to be around. Andrea is the more outgoing of the two. She’s not as timid. But Caitlin is very tough willed. She can take a lot of crap and dish a lot of crap.”

Murray said there is one main difference between the Hennings — the way they attack a problem.

“Caitlin would think of a plan to do something without making her hands dirty,” he said. “She wants to make it work as easy as possible. Andrea wants to get her hands dirty.”

When they’re not studying for advanced-placement classes and working on their game, both Hennings are section leaders in Klahowya’s band. Caitlin, who holds a 3.4 grade-point average, plays the piccolo and Andrea, who has a 3.7 grade-point average, plays the clarinet.

“They’re both very committed to anything they do,” Woolf said. “On Wednesday night, we got off the bus and they went and grabbed their band instruments and practiced for an hour and a half.”

And they also love horses.

“I’ve loved them for so long,” Caitlin said. “I had a pony when I was younger.”

To put that love to good use, the Hennings volunteer for an organization called Horse Harbor Foundation, which rescues abused and neglected horses.

When she starts the next phase of her education at Olympic College in the fall, Caitlin said she doesn’t think she will continue with softball, instead focusing her attention on academics. She said she especially enjoys geology and speech and plans to become a dental hygienist.

“Last time I went to my dentist and they were drilling my teeth, I found it really interesting,” she said, speaking of how she decided on her career path.

And for the first time in their lives, the twins will be split up. Andrea’s love of horses is leading her to the University of Washington, where she will begin work on a degree in veterinary medicine and two years later, transfer to Washington State University’s veterinary school in Pullman.

“I love horses,” she said. “In school, you learn about boring stuff and quickly forget it. Horses fascinate me.”

Woolf said she understands why neither Henning plans to continue with softball.

“I think they both played for so long and they’re at a point where they’re focused on other things,” she said. “I was surprised when Caitlin said she wasn’t going to play at Olympic. I don’t think Andrea will play, either. She certainly would work hard enough to try and make it, but I think her focus is on veterinary medicine. College sports take so much time away from academics.”

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