Two Nations, one heart: Twin sisters fight for each other and the Grangers on the diamond

Published 8:30 am Saturday, October 14, 2023

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The LaGrange softball team has quite the duo in their dugout on game days. Twins Tatum and Taylor Nation have been playing on the same softball team for almost a decade now, and it just so happens that the team they have been representing the last several years is none other than the Grangers.

Tatum and Taylor were not originally destined for LaGrange High. Their mother, Tabatha, is a graduate of Troup High, and the two attend Long Cane in their sixth grade year. Taylor, who has a visual impairment, had an opportunity to transfer to Gardner Newman to help with her education program. 

Tabatha called it an answered prayer, but for Tatum and Taylor, they did not view it in quite the same light at first.

“They were so mad at me,” Tabatha said as the three shared a laugh. 

Eventually, the two settled in and could not imagine calling another high school besides LaGrange home. 

“It is so great and it is not even just about softball,” Tatum said. “It is the place to be because everybody is trying to help get you where you want to go.”

The two got called up to play for the JV team during their eight grade seasons. Taylor earned her first varsity reps and the illustrious pinstripe jersey they only give out to varsity players this season.

Tatum on the other hand got thrown to the wolves her freshman year. Tatum did not think should we receive much playing time her freshman season as Holly Lynn had the catcher spot locked down.

This all changed one day when Tatum was inserted into a game part way through.

“She went behind the plate and was like this,” Taylor said as she stuck out her hand as if she had a catcher’s glove on it and started shaking like her sister did during her first varsity action.

Tatum added that she was not mentally prepared for that at all, but the confidence the coach placed in her then helped her mature in the years to come.

Tatum is now in her second full season as the team’s starting catcher.

Taylor has started receiving some varsity time this season and is still a regular on the jv team. First-year jv head coach Madison Shelton has helped Tatum take her game to the next level.

“It means a lot when you have a coach that knows what she is doing,” Taylor said. “It makes you want to play harder, and she makes it more fun.”

Shelton has been a big factor in Tatum’s development as well. Shelton, a former catcher at Troup High, works with Tatum practically everyday at practice.

While her sister is a catcher, you are more likely to find Taylor at second base or the outfield. Tatum started out as an outfielder, but found herself getting distracted out there and transitioned to catcher.

It has been quite the maturation for both of the LaGrange High juniors. They have grown up on the diamond and with the team only having one senior on the roster, both Taylor and Tatum have had to step up and fill leadership roles this season, a new endeavor for both of them.

“It was definitely a big thing when one of the eight graders was asking coach Craig (Mobley) a question and he said ‘go ask Taylor.’”

While both are ultra competitive, they have very different personalities despite their status as twins. 

“Taylor, if you yell at her and all this and that, she’s gonna break down and cry. She doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. She wants to make everybody happy,” Tabatha said. “This one here (Tatum) if you soft talk her she will walk all over you, so she needs somebody that’s harder on her.”

Though not identical twins, the two share a lot in common. Both are members of the FFA, both are extremely competitive, and both love being on the softball diamond. The dynamic duo’s junior softball season is winding down, but fans will have a chance to see them compete at Granger Park once again next season.