(MARYVILLE, Mo.) Hard work and dedication on the diamond has kept Paige and Torri Blythe close. But when it comes to sibling rivalries, competitiveness gets the best of them.
"Sometimes I think she works a little harder when I'm pitching than when everyone else is," Paige said of her younger sister Torri.
"When we'd go live and they'd have to face each other, you could see the competition step up there." Northwest head softball coach Ryan Anderson said. "Paige would talk smack on Torri and Torri would try to come back and have good at bats on her, but you could see it happen."
That competitive fire didn't begin overnight for the sisters. The Blythe's played two years together for their father, Matt, on the Maysville varsity squad.
"In high school, we definitely had to work really hard because our dad was the coach, and had to prove to everyone else he wasn't just playing us because we were his daughters," Paige said. "I guess that just made us work even harder."
Paige chose to continue her softball career at Northwest Missouri State in 2012, and Torri followed. Now a freshman for the Bearcats, she's gained a rare advantage.
"I've had many night where I've talked to Paige about things that were going on and I know she's always there to listen to me. And usually she has the same opinion."
"It's not that initial freshman adjustment of, 'I have to prove myself to everyone.' Now, you have the support of your sister already here," Anderson said. "And hopefully those steps are fewer to get to that point."
Even with her sister at Northwest, Torri wasn't sure what to expect.
"I wasn't sure where I was going to play and I knew Coach was thinking many different positions, so I was just trying to keep an open mind of where he wanted to put me and just try my hardest in every place."
The Blythe's hope the family atmosphere growing at Northwest can springboard the Bearcats a contenders again.
"I think with having the more experience next year is really going to help us," Torri said. "We'll have different people on the team, different leadership roles, and I feel like that will help."