STRATFORD—When the subject of legacy came up, Bunnell High seniors, twin sisters and softball players Sofia and Julianna Santiago had to think for a minute.
It’s not easy to answer what unseen intangibles one might be leaving behind for friends and teammates to carry with them down the road.
The answer, however, was far more obvious than either of them realized.
The Santiago Twins’ legacy will be left all over the Bunnell High softball field.
First base. Second base. Any of the outfield spots—wherever there is a hole in the Bulldogs defense, Bunnell head coach Gary Quiricone knows who to ask to fill them.
“They have taken an active role in the process of filling whatever position we need them to play,” Quricone said in the wake of Friday’s 20-4 win over Bassick. “They’ve filled in quite nicely, infield positions, outfield positions. I can put them anywhere and they can fill that position.”
Don’t read that statement as the Santiago’s being fill-in players, however.
To the contrary, these life-long softball players are legit and deserving starters in the Bunnell softball lineup.
They just have the overall game to play anywhere on the field.
“Well, anywhere but pitcher and catcher,” Julianna Santiago said.
Give them a season to prepare and they could likely fill those spots, as well, but sadly for the Bulldogs, this will be the last time the Santiago Twins will be taking the field in the Blue and White.
Whatever their legacy may be, it will be compiled together over the closing half of the season.
“That’s a tough question,” Sofia replied when asked about their legacy. “I kind of want to have a co-partnership with my sister, so we can work hard together and do what we can to leave our mark on this program.”
By stepping up and doing whatever asked of them, the Santiagos are reminding their teammates that the team comes first.
“We don’t have really have captains—we pick them game-by-game—but as far as four-year players, they’re in a leadership role, that’s for sure,” Quiricone said.
The Santiagos are fraternal twins, but there is a strong sisterly resemblance between the two.
Sofia was born first so, as the older twin, she likes to jokingly remind Julianna that is why she gets her own room while the younger twin has to share with a younger sister.
Both are outgoing, though Sofia likely has a little more of a comic side by Julianna is the more serious twin.
On the field, though, the two have been almost inseparable for their entire careers, starting in T-ball.
“We’ve been playing next to each other and batting near each other for so long,” Sofia Santiago said.
The two have also been pushing each other and helping each other become better players.
“We push each other all the time,” Julianna said. “We often critique each other, not like in a bad way, but we really push each other and help each other get better at our positions.”
The two will follow each other from Bunnell to Southern Connecticut next fall, but no they will not be rooming together in New Haven either.
Sofia hopes to major in sports management while Julianna is eyeing a future in psychology.
First, though, there is the rest of this softball season left to play.
As seniors, and as leaders, the Santiago Twins will keep doing whatever it takes to help rebuild the foundation of Bunnell softball.
“They take that part of their leadership role seriously,” Quiricone said. “They have no problem going out there and filling in wherever need.”
Let that be the legacy of Sofia and Julianna Santiago in the history of Bunnell High softball.
(“On the Sidelines” is a regular online feature column written by Stratford Sports Scene editor John Nash)