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Siblings make a winning combination

Ella plays second base in a 2015 game at East. (Photo by Lisa Brown)1 / 2
Andrea pitches in a 2015 game at East. (Photo by Lisa Brown)2 / 2

Most sisters share rooms, clothes and gossip. Duluth East senior Ella and sophomore Andrea Brown go a step further and share a sports team. For the 2015 softball season, the Brown sisters shared the field for the Greyhounds.

To add to the family dynamic, Nat Brown, Ella and Andrea's father, has been their coach since the two started playing softball.

"Coaching my daughters has been one of the great joys of my life," Nat said. "It has been an opportunity that not many coaches or parents get. Not only have I coached them at the high school level but at every level on their way up. To see them compete for their school on the same field has been amazing."

Many siblings have issues with competitiveness, but according to their dad, the Browns handle being sisters and teammates well.

"I think they both have a good understanding of the fact that when we are at practice or games they are two members of a team," Nat said. "I think what really helps is that I have coached them for so long that it just seems natural. It is probably stranger to them to be a part of teams that I am not the coach of."

Andrea credits softball with giving her many positive personality traits.

"Softball has made me a better, more hardworking person," Andrea said. "It has shown me what my strengths are and how to become more of a leader. My favorite aspect of the game is that I can be doing what I love with the people who I love."

Andrea spent the past season pitching for the Greyhounds while Ella played second base.

"I can easily say that playing second was my favorite," Ella said. "Softball has given me the opportunity to become friends with a great group of girls. Many of these girls I met the first day of tryouts in eighth grade and we have been a tight group ever since. Playing with them made my senior season truly unforgettable. Even if we didn't win as many games as we would have liked, I wouldn't have traded this group of girls for anything."

Although Ella is the older sister and also was chosen to be a captain this past year, the two work well as equals and a team.

"Playing with my sister has been a blast," Ella said. "This is the first year that we have ever played on the same softball team. I think she did a great job this year relief pitching in tough situations and stepping up during games at the end of the year. I think she has a bright softball career ahead of her. I can't wait to see what she will accomplish."

Next year, Ella will be attending Hamline University and is undecided about playing softball there.

"I am going to miss my sister because of her calming presence and her positive attitude," Andrea said. "She believes in me even when I don't believe in myself."

Solveig Rennan is a junior at East High School and interned for the Budgeteer in 2014. If you have an idea for a teen athlete profile, email budgeteer@duluthbudgeteer.com.

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