FAIRBORN — Wright State softball catcher Kate Pfeffer and second baseman Libby Pfeffer have a unique bond as twin sisters and they are in the midst of their senior seasons. They have proven to be two of a kind during their Raider careers.
Before they came to WSU, the Pfeffers were a productive duo on a Clayton Northmont team that went undefeated in Greater Western Ohio Conference play during their junior and senior seasons. Libby’s batting average was .400 or more each year, and Kate averaged over .300 for all four years.
Though it wasn’t on their minds initially during the recruiting process, the Pfeffers determined that playing together would be a significant factor in their decision.
“One school did want one of us and not the other. We said, ‘Sorry we’re a package deal,’” Libby said. “Wright State wanted both of us. We were close to home, and it was a great fit.”
For WSU, Kate has been a vocal defensive leader and has had notable games hitting for power, which earned her Horizon League Player of the Week honors once last season. Libby has a knack for turning double plays and has averaged over .300 each year.
The Pfeffers have been a tandem as teammates on the softball field for the last 17 years, and roommates for the last four years at WSU. For the sisters, this will admittedly be an adjustment.
“It will be interesting because we’ve always been together. We’ll figure it out I guess,” Kate said.
“I bet there will be less arguments,” Libby said jokingly.
The Pfeffers and their extended family are synonymous with local sports. Their brother is a pitcher at Sinclair. One cousin played football at Wittenberg while another currently plays football for Ohio. Another pair of cousins are softball players at Northmont. There is additionally a cousin who plays softball for Capital University.
“It has definitely bonded us. I think it is what makes our family so close-knit,” Libby said. “That is something that we talk about and do at Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
“I think it’s what made us all so competitive and driven,” Kate said.
The connection that the Pfeffers have as twins was apparent while they answered questions last Monday, as they finished each other’s sentences and cracked up at each other’s jokes. WSU coach Justine Wichman, a twin herself, has noticed this bond on the field.
“They literally have a twin telepathy. That is a bond that no one understands unless they are twins,” Wichman said. “They know how to hold each other accountable in a positive manner and fashion. Their natural instinct, knowing that the other will be there when they throw it, is fun to watch.”
For Libby, who has been playing with a broken finger, grittiness is something she has in ample supply. Kate lauded her for this, and her intelligence related to softball.
“She is tough, does whatever she needs to do for the team and won’t whine or complain about it,” Kate said. “I think Libby is one of the smartest people I’ve ever played with. She has awesome instincts where I say, ‘I would have never thought of that.’”
After witnessing Kate be the first one at the field and last one to leave, on top of her constant desire to take more reps, Libby has been impressed by her sister’s work ethic.
“Nothing is good enough for Kate. She can hit a freaking home run and say, ‘I could have hit it harder,’” Libby said. “She is selfless and wants the best for herself and the team.”
Softball has been his family’s life since his daughters were five years old, according to the Pfeffer’s father Sam.
“Most parents go to a game to watch one of their children play, and with softball we get to see two play,” he said. “With Kate being a catcher and Libby playing second base, I try to align myself so I can see them both on the field without one of them being out of my line of sight.”
Sam says he will miss the friendships Kate and Libby built through softball, traveling for road games and the phone calls with his daughters after accomplishments on the field or rough games. When it’s time for senior day, he admits he and his wife Lynn will probably cry.
The Pfeffers are in sync on the field, and the same can be said with academics. Kate is an English major with a grade-point average of 3.74 and wants to be a teacher, while Libby is in Rehabilitation Studies with a GPA of 3.47 and hopes to be an occupational therapist.
Through the four years of hard work, tears, blood and sweat, as Libby puts it, one thing that has eluded the Pfeffers is a Horizon League championship and NCAA tournament berth.
“That is an experience that we’ve watched on TV since we were little and we’ve never gotten to go ourselves,” Kate said. “That would be pretty special in itself.”
With the number of games left in the final chapter of their Raider careers dwindling, the Pfeffers put in perspective how that feels to them.
When she was a freshman, Libby says the seniors told her not to take anything for granted and that the next four years will move by quickly. After being skeptical of that at first, she now realizes what they were talking about.
“Then you’re seniors and looking back at the girls who told you that,” Libby said. “You’re telling the freshmen that, and you can see them thinking exactly what you did.”
“I’m grateful and glad that we choose Wright State,” Kate said.
For these twins, playing together has proven to be the ultimate win.
“It’s an awesome experience to have my best friend and sister play every game with me,” Libby said.
Alan Hieber writes for Wright State University.