A pair of California Pintos softball standouts are set to continue playing together at the collegiate level next year.
Seniors Lauren Hill and Camryn Schlup played softball together for the entirety of their time in high school and were part of a class that went 63-35. The 63 wins are the most for one four-year class of Pintos softball players in California history.
The two friends will continue to play softball together after graduation, as both will be playing in college at Central Methodist University in Fayette.
Schlup said she is excited to be able to keep playing with Hill.
“Lauren and I have been playing together for quite a few years now and I am so excited to continue onto the next chapter of our lives together,” Schlup said. “I’m excited to see how our collegiate careers take off and can’t wait to make more memories together.”
Hill said while playing in college will be a challenge, it will also be fun to have a friend like Schlup around.
“It will be a challenge being somewhere different and not knowing the tradition of what Central follows and how it differs from California’s,” Hill said. “But it will be fun to have someone that is going through something and having someone that is as close as Cam and I. It is going to be fun to be able to see each other every day and still be able to have each other to do things with.”
Both players earned plenty of postseason honors during their time at California. This year, Schlup and Hill were named to the Class 3 District 5 all-district first team. They were both also named to the Tri-County all-conference first team. Last year, Schlup and Hill were named to the Class 2 all-district first team. Schlup was also named to the all-conference first team and Hill was named to the all-conference second team. Thanks to a deeper postseason run, both were also named to the all-region first team and Schlup was named to the Class 2 all-state first team.
On the field, the pair has been working together for years with Schlup as a pitcher and Hill as a catcher. Schlup said the two of them work very well together thanks to their friendship.
“Lauren is like a sister to me. She is one of my biggest supporters, my hype girl and my best friend,” Schlup said. “We may not agree and get along at times, but we always come back stronger than ever. Lauren’s fun, energetic personality motivates me to work hard but have fun with what I’m doing. Compared to other catchers who have previously caught (for) me, Lauren and I work extremely well together due to the fact of how close we are on and off the field. People refer to us as ‘the duo’ and I couldn’t think of a better term to describe us.”
Hill agrees the two work well together, and thanks to the time they’ve spent playing together, they know how one another works.
“With all friendships, there are always fights that come along with it,” Hill said. “We are literally just alike, and we work well together. We have been pitching and catching together for years and understand how the other works and what they need to excel and do their best on the field.”
Schlup and Hill had positive things to say about their time playing softball for California. Schlup said the years have gone by quicker than she would’ve expected looking back
“Playing softball the past four years has given me an enormous amount of lifelong memories,” Schlup said. “I have built many relationships and connections through softball. With this being my senior year, I truly didn’t realize how fast these four years would go by. I have had some of the best coaches and teammates who have pushed me to be the best player and person I can be. My career as a Lady Pinto will always hold a special place in my heart, and I look forward to seeing the future of this program.”
Hill credited her coach for giving her the chance to prove herself early in her Pintos career.
“The past four years have been outstanding under coach (Steven) Stock,” Hill said. “I have been faced with lots of adversity these past four years. Starting my freshman year, my older sister, Hannah, was a junior and was the starting catcher. Therefore, I had to prove myself to the whole team that I was good enough to take an upperclassman’s position, especially my sister’s. Once I got the position, coach Stock continued to push me to be the player he knew I could be. Camryn and I have known each other for years so that was helpful when we got to high school; even though we had never played together until high school, it was easier to play with one of your best friends.”
Even though their time on the Pintos’ softball team may be over, both have made plenty of memories from their time on the team.
“Each year of my high school softball career has been filled with some of the best memories and moments,” Schlup said. “My freshman year, beating Russellville in districts was a huge deal. My sophomore year, finishing in second place in districts after beating Sherwood was a huge success for the team. My junior year, winning the Marshall tournament was a memorable moment for the team and coaches. My senior year, beating Blair Oaks 2-1 was such an exciting win for the team. There are an endless amount of memories, so it’s hard to pick which ones are my favorites.”
Some of Hill’s fondest softball memories overlap with Schlup’s.
“A few of my favorite memories of playing high school softball would have to be meeting one of my best friends,” Hill said. “I also loved playing two years with my older sister and seeing her get the game-winning hit against Sherwood my sophomore year to get us to the district championship. Another great memory I will always have is beating Blair Oaks this year for the first time in forever.”