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One might say that two of Highland's best softball players, Amanda and Sherie Holmes, were born with the game in their blood. According to Amanda, the day she was brought home from the hospital as a newborn was her first day out on a softball field.

Growing up, Amanda and Sherie remember always playing softball. Their father, who was in a slow pitch baseball league for many years and is now the assistant softball coach at Highland, instilled the love of the game in his four daughters - all of whom are heavily involved in softball. "(We were) always hitting. We have a pitching machine and batting cage in our backyard," says Amanda.Amanda, a senior, plays first base and relief pitcher for the team while Sherie, a junior, is the team's pitcher. They will be in action Wednesday as the state high school softball tournament gets under way in the morning at the Cottonwood Complex. Highland plays Brighton at 1 p.m. Two younger daughters, 13-year old Brittany and 6-year old Whitney both play in recreation leagues.

Both and Sherie and Amanda have played competitively for nine years now. Amanda has played for seven state championship American Softball Association teams, including the Bullets and Stars, as well as six regional championship teams. Additionally, she has been part of five state champion teams in the American Fastpitch Association.

As far as her high school career goes, Amanda has been on Highland's regional winning softball team for the last three years and played in the state tournament in which the Rams placed third last year. As a freshman, she was named the team's most valuable player and as a junior was named to All-State. Amanda was also named most valuable player last year at the Polarbear Softball Tournament.

Sherie is an equally talented player. She pitched her ASA team to a national victory and has pitched in five other national tournaments. In her three years at Highland, Sherie has been part of the regional championship team. In fact, Amanda attributes the wins to Sherie. "We've won region three years in a row mostly because of Sherie," she says.

Sherie was also named most valuable player as a freshman and sophomore. Last year, she was named most valuable pitcher at the Polarbear Softball Tournament. Although Sherie is famous mostly for her pitching, she did play catcher to Amanda's pitching for two years. "Once she gave me a black eye . . . I never caught for her again," she says.

As a pitcher, Amanda has a 6-1 record and an earned run average of 1.04. She has 28 strikeouts in 46 innings. Amanda's also the team's leading hitter, with 31 hits in 52 at-bats. "That's phenomenal," says Highland coach Butch Latey. She has 17 stolen bases for the season.

As for Sherie, Latey says "she is real talented (and) she sees the ball real well.' Sherie has a pitching record of 12-2 and a 1.73 ERA. She has 46 strikeouts in 92 innings.

Sherie is also an offensive player. For example, in Highland's 4-0 game against Kearns last Thursday, not only did Sherie pitch their way to victory but she hit a single, double, and triple. Last year she struck out only once. Although the two sisters both excel at softball, they are, as Latey says, "different as night and day." While Amanda is talkative and outgoing, Sherie tends to be shy and reserved. Amanda loves to read, travel, and shop while Sherie says she loves sports. Sherie is a member of the school choir and Amanda is a candy striper and works at Nordstrom in her spare time.

Both have participated in other high school sports. For a couple of years, both played basketball. They also both played volleyball. Amanda played soccer her sophomore and junior year and was team captain one year.

Although their lives are so intertwined, especially with softball, the sisters manage to remain supportive of each other. Amanda believes their playing together has strengthened their relationship. Both claim the other sister is the "star."