Jade McKnight doubles the state finals appearances of twin sister Jalise, but the Portage long jumper remains envious of her sibling center fielder.
"She's going to get a ring; I'm a little jealous," Jade said of Jalise, who plays in today's Class 4A softball state championship. "I'm going to wear it."
"I don't know about that," Jalise said, but the senior outfielder enjoys the sibling support she receives.
"She's been great to me, giving me advice," Jalise said of Jade, who placed 15th and sixth, respectively, in the long jump at the state finals. "From what she's accomplished, it makes me strive for what I want to do."
As the leadoff hitter for Portage (24-6), McKnight is hitting .272 with four doubles, a home run and 15 RBIs. She was 3-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in the sectional championship, and she drove in the initial run of last Saturday's 2-0 win over No. 2 ranked Northridge in the Harrison Semistate semifinal.
"She's been seeing the ball really well," Portage coach Lisa Hayes said of Jalise. "She does a lot of things right for us."
That includes solidifying the outfield defense in center.
"She tracks down balls very well, and she has amazing footwork," Hayes said. "She has great technique that helps her get behind the ball and make her throws."
Due to their competing schedules, Jade has only seen four softball games this season. Today, Jalise will definitely feel the family support at Indianapolis Ben Davis, site of the game against Franklin Central. Jade will be in attendance, plus their father John, who attended last Saturday's state track meet, mother Lisa, who attended the semistate, and several other family members.
"My graduation party is Sunday, so the family is also up for that," said Jalise, a St. Francis recruit. "I feel like it's going to be a lot of fun that they will be at the game. I'm happy some of them finally get to watch me play."
Jade expects to talk with her twin sister Friday and provide encouragement.
"I want to see where her head is at," said Jade, who has committed to Western Michigan. "I went to state last year, so I was able to see the atmosphere and get used to it. Last year, I was a little more nervous."
Jalise McKnight doesn't expect the nerves of a first-time state appearance will get to her.
"Jade has talked with me about it; I'm just going to tune out everything and just play -- do what I do best," Jalise said. "It's good that Jade's been in this situation before. That helps me relax."