Liberty softball’s Chapman twins headed to Nebraska
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
With their parents watching, Liberty Hawks’ softball players Lauren, left, and Paige Chapman sign their Official National Letters of Intent to play softball at York College next year. The twins officially signed their letters during a March 23 ceremony inside the Liberty High School theater.
Over the past few years, the Chapman twins (Paige and Lauren) have been synonymous with Liberty Hawks softball.
When people talk about Liberty softball, most of the time, the next question they ask is how the Chapman twins are doing.
“That’s nice to hear our reputation. People really know about us,” Paige said.
Lauren, who is one minute older, and Paige Chapman are doing just fine and have signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at York College next season. They will join six other valley softball players at York that includes Madera High School alums Sofia Perez and Roni (Arellano) Miller as the head coach.
“We hoped to go to the same college,” Lauren said. “We were never on our own. We always went to the same school and had the same classes. We just wanted to be together. We got the offer to go together and took it.”
‘It’s so cool to go to the same school,” Paige said. “It’s been a dream for us to go to the same college and play together. We’ve been going to school together since elementary school.”
The two are quite different on the softball diamond, though. Paige is the table setter at the top of the order and is in centerfield. Meanwhile, Lauren is the heavy hitter to drive in Paige, and others, and plays in the infield, mostly at third base.
Lauren, who is one minute older, couldn’t think of playing college softball without her sister by her side.
“It was absolutely a joy to play with her,” Lauren said. “She’s one heck of a centerfielder. When she got on base, I knew I had to bring her in. If I could get her in, we have a chance to win the game. Our relationship is great, too. We are super close. If she messes up, I have her. Our bond was more closer than a friend, of course. The late night drives home was a big thing we had together and great to have that experience.”
The Chapmans got looks from Bethel College in Kansas and another in Idaho.
“They wanted both of us,” Lauren said. “We really didn’t get any separate ones, but we weren’t looking for any.”
The Chapmans chose York because of their nursing program and also because of the Central Valley connection.
“We felt it would be the best place to get a nursing degree. That caught our attention,” Lauren said. “There’s a Central Valley theme for the softball team.”
However, ever since she started playing softball, Lauren knew the ultimate goal was to play softball in college.
“College was definitely the goal,” she said. “Ever since I was little, I always wanted to play at the college level. I always wanted to play college softball. I didn’t care what division I was in. I just wanted to play.”
The tough part for Lauren and the softball team was having to play through the COVID-19 pandemic, but she felt she had a pretty good career.
“There were ups and downs in my career,” she said. “We got to Valley in my junior year. We were always one step short. Freshman year, we lost in semifinals, sophomore year, we didn’t have playoffs and this year, lost in the quarterfinals.
“We all got together really good. We had some ups and downs throughout the year. We are all about the same age. We just turned 17-year-old seniors, so we’re young. All of our ages aren’t far apart. Being a senior, sometimes you have to step back to let them take control. However, you want to tell them how to do it so when we leave, this is how it will go.”
Lauren also had to endure a coaching change from Steve Uyeda to first-time varsity softball head coach Keith Davis this year.
“It was a great change,” she said. “I love Coach Steve. Coach Keith brought us to a new level in learning different things. I learned a lot more than in my last three years. Coach Steve had more years in the game, but Coach Keith had a new way of coaching and new ways to teach. I think that’s why our team came together more because we learned more things. Every practice was a new day and we learned something new every day.”
Lauren knew her role on the team. It was Paige’s job to get on base and it was Lauren’s job to drive her in.
“Her game was to get on base,” Lauren said. “Whatever I had to do to get her over or to score her, I was fine to do. I laid down like 12 bunts this season. Whatever I can do to help the team. I beat out about half of those bunts.”
Like her sister, Lauren is a three-time All-Madera Tribune recipient and a three-time first team All-North Sequoia League award winner. She recorded video game-like numbers with a .467 batting average to go with 43 hits and 10 doubles. She drove in more runs (46) than she had hits while also scoring 33 runs. She tied the school record for RBI’s in a season that was set in 2014 by Renee Ortega.
One of Lauren’s best words of encouragement came from a younger girl that watched her play.
“I had a young girl the other day text me after she watched us play,” she said. “She said I was one of her big inspirations. Your attitude on the field is amazing and like the style of playing. I like how you get pumped up when someone has a good play. It gave me the chills. It wasn’t like my family telling me, but it was another person that I don’t know.”
Going halfway across the country is a big step for both Paige and Lauren and Lauren said her parents are still getting used to the idea.
“My parents aren’t okay, but they know it’s a big opportunity for us,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity for us wanting to be pediatric oncology nurses. They are okay with school. We will come back. We are over there for a good opportunity and help us through life.”
Lauren is also unsure how she will deal with the midwest winters.
“We’re trying to figure out how to deal with the weather. When it’s 60 degrees here, I have the chills. I’m shivering. I don’t know how I’m going to make it over there,” she said. “
Nonetheless, Lauren knows it’s a great opportunity, but having her sister there will help with the nervous feelings.
“I am nervous to just go. At least I have my sister with me,” she said. “I’m a little nervous, but sad that I’m leaving my family and friends. Those girls I am playing with played on my travel team. We are all really good and close to each other. We’ll be fine.”
Paige is a minute younger and she says that Lauren brings it up all the time. However, going to school together is something they have dreamed of and wouldn’t have had it different.
“We’re pretty close,” Paige said. “We always wanted to go college together. We’re always together. It’s cool we got the offer to go to York.”
Like her sister, Paige is planning on becoming a nurse — pediatric oncology.
They also chose York because of the family atmosphere at the school.
“What I liked about York was everyone was really nice,” Paige said. “The players were cool and the coaches were understanding. I felt like the coaches and players were welcoming.”
Lauren and Paige also know the six other players heading to York from the Central Valley and is excited about what the team will look like next year.
“We all played together,” Paige said. “It’s really cool. We are probably going to have a good softball team with all of us there. It’s cool that we get to go with our softball friends. But, we’re leaving our entire family in Madera.”
Paige also benefitted from the coaching change and put up video game-type numbers. In addition, assistant coaches Darbi Duke and Mariah Davis were both slap hitters, like Paige, so she got a good dose of hands-on coaching.
“I think the change was great,” she said. “When Coach Keith came in, he was ready to work. He put his time into us girls on the field. All he wanted to do was make us better. He loved every single one of us. He didn’t have favorites and was fair to everyone. It was great to have Mariah and Darbi. They were both slappers in college. It was good to have them and they helped me fixed my problems, especially stepping out of the box.”
Paige batted a career high .531 this season with 52 hits and 49 runs scored to set a new school record. She beat the old record of 47 that was set in 2006 by one of Liberty’s first greats, Macae Coleman. Paige is a three time All-Madera Tribune recipient and was named The Madera Tribune’s Offensive Player of the Year. She was also the North Sequoia League’s Co-Most Valuable Player. She also ranks in the top 10 of many offensive categories despite missing most of her sophomore year because of the pandemic.
Paige enjoys the difference between the two. She knows her job is to get on base, but she also has confidence that when she gets on base, her sister is there to drive her in.
“It has always been that way,” Paige said. “It’s cool that she’s a power hitter. It’s two different things.”
Paige also knows she is leaving behind a legacy and hopes that will help lift the team even higher in the future.
“Me and my sister helped make the team better,” she said. “We always want to leave a good example. I always wanted to play at a higher level. Our softball team is a Div. 2 team. We can compete with those teams. Even though we didn’t win, we competed with Bullard and Mission Oak.”
Unlike her sister, Paige is ready for the midwest winter.
“I like the cold weather. I hate the heat,” she said. “I think the cold weather is nice. I don’t like to be sweaty.”
Chapman Twins legacy
Lauren Chapman, CF
2022- .531 BA, 52 hits, 49 runs, 17 RBI, 6 2B, 29 SB
Career- .448 BA, 133 hits, 113 runs, 14 2B, 7 3B, 40 RBI, 60 SB
All-Time Top 10 marks
Batting average, season- 2022, 3rd
Bating average, career- 8th
Runs, season- 1st (old record- Macae Coleman, 2006)
Runs, career- 2nd (most since 2007)
Hits, season- 3rd (most since 2013)
Hits, career- 8th
Triples, career- T-4th
Stolen bases, season- 2nd (most since 2009), 8th (18 in 2021)
Stolen bases, career- 2nd (most since 2010)
Paige Chapman, 3B
2022- .467 BA, 43 hits, 33 runs, 46 RBI, 10 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 14 SB
Career- .444 BA, 127 hits, 91 runs, 27 2B, 7 3B, 11 HR, 104 RBI, 29 SB
All-Time Top 10 marks
Batting average, career- 10th
Hits, career- 10th
Doubles, career- 7th (most since 2016)
Triples, career- T-4th
Home runs, season- 9th (7 in 2021)
Home runs, career- 5th (most since 2015)
RBIs, season- T-1st (Renee Ortega, 2014)
RBIs, career- T-3rd (most since 2015)
Stolen bases, career- 9th