Chapmans are mirror image on field

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 1999

MEADVILLE -&160;When Franklin County’s softball team takes the field, people in the stands usually do a double-take. The reason for the second look is Jenny and Janet Chapman, 17-year-old identical twins who comprise the center of the Bulldog defense.

With Janet at shortstop and Jenny (older by one minute) at second base, the twins are known for their tough, go-for-broke style.

In one game earlier this year, Janet dove after a grounder to shortstop. After the cloud of dust settled, Chapman missed the ball but had a nice cut on her forearm from sliding on the dirt.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;I had hurt it in an earlier game,&uot; Janet said. &uot;It is just one of those things you have to do.&uot;

The two have always played sports. Aside from their softball duties at Franklin County High, they also play fast-pitch softball, soccer and golf for Franklin County.

When the two aren’t competing on the playing field, they like to relax by hunting. Janet killed two deer last year to Jenny’s one. The elder Chapman is out to even the score this year.

Their mother, Lynn Chapman, cannot remember a time when the two were not interested in sports.

&uot;When they were smaller, their father would play ball with them,&uot; Mrs. Chapman said. &uot;I think that got them started with the athletics.&uot;

And, the pair admit they are fierce competitors. &uot;It is very hard to leave the game on the field,&uot; Janet said. &uot;We will talk about it on the way home.&uot;

The athletic twins also tried their hand at coaching a 7- and 8-year-old coach-pitch team this summer.

&uot;We lost every game,&uot; Jenny said. &uot;We tried to show them how to do it. The coaching was pretty fun, but it would have been better if we had won.&uot;

Their coach, Walter Beesley, has worked with the twins for five years. He said he has appreciated their playing style and leadership and he likes the work ethic they display for the team. &uot;They play the same whether they are 10 runs ahead or 10 runs behind,&uot; Beesley said.

And Beesley, who has coached one other set of identical twins, has learned to overcome the challenges of telling the girls apart.

&uot;I’ve always been able to tell them apart,&uot; Franklin County coach Walter Beesley said. &uot;Of course Janet had braces for a while which made it easier for me. It gets a little hard when they wear the batting helmets.&uot;

Beesley said the Chapman sisters are always by each other’s side. &uot;You never see these two girls apart,&uot; Beesley said.

And that proves true in both athletics and academics. Janet is ranked fourth in her senior class; Jenny is ranked fifth.

The two make their home in Lucien with their parents Charles and Lynn Chapman.