Look in the record book of Raymond S. Kellis High School’s softball team, and you’ll find it largely populated by two names.
Taylor Uden holds the record for batting average and doubles in a season. The single-season marks for hits, RBIs, triples and walks belong to her sister, Maddie.
Back in high school, they not only played on the same team, they often switched places on the field as a joke. It was easy enough, given that Taylor played shortstop and Maddie played second base. They looked so alike, their coach wouldn’t notice.
But now, their days as a dynamic double-play duo are over.
This weekend, as the No. 15 Michigan softball team travels to take on Indiana, Taylor will be honored for Senior Day as the Hoosiers’ first baseman. Taking the field with her will be Maddie, the starting third baseman for the Wolverines.
In the stands, the Udens’ family will sit and watch, decked out in maize and blue and crimson and cream. After all, this isn’t just a matchup between the top two teams in the Big Ten — it’s a matchup that may determine who earns the regular-season crown.
It could be the last time their daughters play together.
Both sisters started playing almost by accident. Taylor was asked to play for a little league team in their hometown of Glendale, Ariz. She was hooked. Then one day, her 10U team needed an extra player. Maddie — then a gymnast — picked up the cleats and never looked back.
And as the two of them made waves at Kellis, colleges came calling. When Maddie went through the recruiting process, Taylor was there for her every step of the way.
“Having her go through it before me, she really emphasized, take your time with the process,” Maddie said. “ … You’ll know when it’s right.”
On her unofficial visit to Michigan, Maddie celebrated her birthday weekend. The team had just met her, but they still took the time to sing Happy Birthday. It already felt like a family, and for a girl that had grown up so close to her sister, that feeling was most important of all.
That was the moment she knew it was right.
When Maddie told her sister that she had chosen a rival school, Taylor laughed. Somehow, two girls from Arizona had both found themselves in the Big Ten.
Maybe it was destined to be this way.
As kids, Maddie and Taylor would hit balls over the fence in their backyard into an adjacent farm. It made their mom mad, but that didn’t stop them from giggling and doing it all over again.
And still, they keep their relationship light, alternating encouragement with trash talk.
“There is this sister rivalry where you’re like, ‘I gotta do better than her,’ ” Maddie said. “But I think it’s just fun either way.
“I remember last year, I walked into it and … we were telling each other, ‘You better be ready!’ But I think I’m gonna heckle her a little bit before we get there. Nothing heavy. … It’s just fun.”
When the teams met last year, their parents sat in the stands at Alumni Field. Their dad, Eric, supported the Hoosiers with a t-shirt and the Wolverines with a hat. Their mom, Stacy, donned an Indiana tee and a Michigan parka. They cheered for both sides.
For many players — especially a freshman who had first cracked the starting lineup the week before — it would be a daunting experience. Not for Maddie, though.
“It made me relax because something about having your family there and your sister there, it is just so much more fun,” Maddie said. “And the atmosphere was really great because you could tell people were cheering extra loud because my sister was on the other team.”
During that series — a sweep by the Wolverines — Maddie hit her first career home run. It felt even sweeter with her sister there watching.
This weekend, in Bloomington, Ind., the spotlight will be focused on Taylor. On Saturday, she’ll give a speech at the Hoosiers’ banquet. On Sunday, she’ll take part in Senior Day festivities.
Through it all, Maddie will be by her side.
During a series where potential implications loom large for both teams — Michigan is just half a game ahead of Indiana in the Big Ten standings — Michigan coach Carol Hutchins wants to keep her players focused. But she simultaneously knows that sometimes, family comes first.
“That’s a pretty special thing,” Hutchins said. “Doesn’t happen very often. And her sister’s gonna graduate this year … we worked it out so she could be there for Taylor’s speech.”
In between games, they’ll hang out and enjoy the moment. After all, there won’t be too many of them left. Then, they’ll take the field knowing that even though they’re in opposing jerseys, they’re still playing together.
Just like old times.