CLAREMONT — Most families had one, maybe two, seniors affected by the suspension and eventual cancellation of the 2020 high school spring sports season. But the Penningtons aren’t like most families.
Lillie, Grace and Seth Pennington are triplets who have all played sports over the past four years at Bunker Hill. Lillie and Grace participated in volleyball during the winter and softball during the spring, while Seth focused only on baseball.
Prior to the cancellation of this year’s softball and baseball seasons due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, all three were again among the statistical leaders on their respective teams, looking to build on the success they had as juniors.
“It has been so hard missing this spring season,” said Lillie, who will continue her softball career at Catawba Valley Community College beginning this fall. “I was looking forward to having a good senior year with my teammates and the other seniors. I never thought something like this would happen and we were so excited for this season.”
A center fielder and third baseman, Lillie was batting .500 with five hits, two RBIs and four runs scored during the softball squad’s 4-1 start (2-0 in the Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference) to the season. Meanwhile, Grace had posted a .600 batting average to go with three hits, an RBI and three runs scored.
“It has been a challenge (to miss her senior season) because I’m not playing in college,” said Grace, who plays second base and outfield. “So I was excited for senior year and what accomplishments we could have achieved.”
As for Seth, he was batting .333 with six hits including a home run and a double, six RBIs and three runs scored during the baseball team’s 4-2 start (2-0 in the Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference). A first baseman when he wasn’t pitching, the southpaw was 2-0 in 11 innings of scoreless, four-hit ball, striking out 11 and issuing five walks.
“It has been one of the hardest things I have ever went through,” said Pennington of missing his senior season. “This was the only year I haven’t played baseball.”
The triplets started playing t-ball when they were only 3 or 4 years old, and they were all on the same team, which was coached by their father.
“He has taught me everything I know and I look up to him,” said Lillie of the patriarch of the Pennington family. “He is a huge factor in why I love this sport and he is always pushing me to do my very best and to work hard for what I want.”
“Ever since we could walk, we had a ball in our hand and he was always helping us get better every day to become the best we could be,” added Grace.
“He has pushed me to be as good as I am today,” said Seth, “and he has taught me about everything I know, along with all of the coaches I have had over the years.”
In addition to playing softball in college, Lillie also plans to attain her degree in dentistry. Grace and Seth will join her at CVCC, where they will pursue medical and welding degrees, respectively, but are not planning to continue their athletic careers.
Nevertheless, all three have enjoyed growing up together playing sports and would encourage others to give softball and baseball a try.
“It is so much fun,” said Lillie of softball. “You get to make all kinds of memories, meet new people and play at cool places. It helps you stay in shape and makes you feel good when you get a hit or make a good play.”
“More girls should play and start at a young age because you can start good friendships and grow up playing with them,” added Grace.
“Baseball allows people to have fun while they are young,” said Seth. “To make memories and friends that will last forever.
“It has been good growing up with two sisters my same age because we can always go hit or throw together,” he continued. “Baseball means a lot to me; I have played the game my whole life and loved every bit of it. I just wish I would have gotten to play my whole senior year.”
For the sisters in particular, the game of softball has brought them closer together. Playing on the same diamond for so many years has created a close bond.
“It has meant so much to me to be able to have a sister by my side every step of the way,” said Lillie. “We always cheer each other up and help each other whenever we need help.”
“I love it,” added Grace. “We always get what each other are thinking. We also get to tell each other ‘it’s all right, you will get it next time’ or ‘that was awesome, good job.’”
If anything, the last few months have given the trio an even bigger appreciation for the sports they love.
“I would say to never take the sport you love for granted and to give 100% all the time,” said Lillie.
“You never know when it could be taken from you or when your last game will be,” added Grace. “Always be a good teammate and have a close bond with your whole team so you will do big things together in the future.”
“Keep working hard and enjoy it while it lasts,” said Seth, “because you never know when it can be taken away from you.”
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