PLATTSBURGH — Brittany Marshall once tried to fill her sister's shoes.
After Ashley Marshall had graduated and left for Plattsburgh State, the Franklin Academy varsity softball team was without a pitcher.
"So then I pitched," Brittany said, adding that "everyone assumed because Ashley could pitch" she could, too.
"But it didn't really work out that well. I didn't like it."
The sisters are comfortable in their own roles these days—Brittany as starting shortstop and one of the Cardinals' top hitters, and Ashley as their ace pitcher—and both have been piling up awards.
With Plattsburgh set to open the NCAA Division III Softball Championship finals today, the Marshalls have already both been named All-SUNYAC, with Ashley garnering Pitcher of the Year honors and Brittany picking up the Rookie of the Year award.
Both were selected for NFCA Division III All-Region teams. And Ashley was named the MVP of both the SUNYAC tournament and the Amherst Regional, while Brittany also made the Regional All-Tournament team.
By the time Brittany arrived this season, Ashley was already a two-time All-SUNYAC player. But the younger Marshall said she didn't feel pressure to keep up with her sister.
"Absolutely not. My parents have always been like, 'You be you,'" Brittany said. "And I'm so happy for Ashley. She's amazing. I look up to her."
Brittany has become a key player in her own right. As the leadoff batter, she's third on the team with a .346 average and second with 47 hits. She has scored a team-high 48 runs and driven in 21.
Both sisters were three-sport stars at Malone's Franklin Academy, and Brittany also plays basketball at Plattsburgh.
Ashley's not surprised by how well Brittany has played on the softball field as a freshman.
"She's fierce out there," Ashley said. "She's a fierce competitor, and she hates to lose and she won't settle for anything less than her best. So what she gives you is going to be her all every time, and that just makes her great."
Ashley also made an immediate impact in her freshman year. As a junior this season, she broke the school's single-season win record of 22 (she's currently 25-4). She boasts a 1.41 ERA with a career-high 269 strikeouts and just 32 walks.
"She's definitely an extremely hard worker," Brittany said. "If she wants something, she goes after it.
And that's definitely showed as she's breaking these records, getting all these awards." The sisters grew up playing on the same teams, and Ashley said they always hoped they'd both play college softball. Brittany considered other schools, but she said being able to play with Ashley was a big reason she chose Plattsburgh. And all the years they've been playing together, have they gotten along?
"Um, no," Ashley said with a smile. "It has not been as bad this year, but usually like during summer ball or high school ball, we'd yell at each other a lot. But it would always be made up within like five seconds, so it didn't really affect anything."
She added that she's glad they're back on the same team again.
"It's awesome," Ashley said. "We've always had a winning team whenever we've played together. So just a great experience, and I'm glad it's still going."
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