Kacie (left) and Kristi (right) Oshiro
April 30, 2014
By Tyler Wallace
Four thousand, eight hundred fifty nine miles is the distance between Mililani, Hawai'i and Greenville, North Carolina. Why is that relevant? For the East Carolina softball program, two players from the same city, the same high school and the same household have traveled that distance and made ECU a temporary home away from home.
"Growing up we were very fortunate to come from a tight-knit family, but we were never very close," said Kristi. "I think playing on the same team in high school really brought us together and closer then ever. Since then, we've done a lot of things together over breaks and holidays and our relationship has only grown stronger over the years."
Kacie saw Kristi in a different light growing up.
"When we were little she would always be like a second mom and always take care of me so it's like I'd look up to her," Kacie said.
Kristi is a name ECU softball followers have heard a lot over the last four years, and Kacie is a name some have seen glimpses of, but will begin to see more and more.
The two grew doing what normal sisters do in a place like Hawai'i, but both have the unique and amazing talent of playing softball.
Kristi was the talk of Mililani during her time on the Island as a four-time All-Hawai'i High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) First Team selection at second base and was able to catch the eye of East Carolina University. Kacie was just a young freshman in high school when Kristi committed to ECU, but went on to make a splash of her own by being named All-HHSAA First Team during each of her four years at Mililani High School.
When it was time for the young Kacie to make her choice getting off the island, becoming a Pirate alongside her sister was the choice she made. Many understand that making the transition to a new school is difficult, but Kacie was lucky to have had her sister already experience the ups and downs of the cross-country move.
"I think it is really helpful just because we are so far away from home and we only get to see our family twice a year," Kacie said. "It really helps with the transition and it is really easy to have someone be there all the time. I see her every day at practice, so it has really helped with the homesickness. I really don't get homesick and I think that's why."
Kristi knows that helping her sister transition into the new surroundings is something necessary, but also believes that Kacie has to experience the up and downs on her own.
"I like to think I have been able to help her with the transition to college," Kristi said. "Being here for the past four years has taught me so much and I was fortunate enough to be able to share some of these things with her. It's a flaw of mine that I always want to do everything and anything for her, but this year, I had to know when to give her space and allow her to do things on her own which she has been able to do and I am so proud of her for it."
When onlookers observe the two players, they might notice something similar between the two other than their last name. They might find that their swings in the batter's box look the same.
"I feel like for me, I look at her because we do have really similar swings, so if there is something wrong with mine, I can look at hers to see what I'm doing wrong," Kacie said. "We really didn't have the same swing until I got into high school. I was swinging a completely different way and then I got into it and it really works."
Kristi knows that the two have similar swings, but she also has the utmost confidence in her little sister.
"She has come such a long way and I am so glad I was able to share part of it with her," Kristi said. "The funny thing is that I have so much faith and confidence in her, even more than I think she has in herself, but I still get these nervous, excited butterflies every time she goes up to bat or is in the game because I want her to do well so badly. All the girls (on the team) will tell you I'm like a crazy mom in the dugout every time. It has been so much fun this season being able to be there with her through the good, the bad, the struggles and everything in between."
With Kristi's senior campaign coming to a close, one of the highlights of the season for Kristi will be playing with her sister.
"Having Kacie on the team has absolutely been a blessing," Kristi said. "Playing with her in high school was what I thought was the highlight of my softball career, but having the opportunity to play with her again in college at the Division I level has honestly been a dream come true."
Kacie shares the same love and pride being able to play with her sister for one last season.
"I am really happy I got the opportunity to play with her again," Kacie said. "The last time I got to play with her was in high school and that was three or four years ago so that was really great. She is just a good person to look up to."
When the Pirates' 2014 season ends and Kristi graduates in May with a degree in sports studies and a minor in psychology, Kacie will find herself as the only Oshiro remaining on the East Carolina softball roster. For the time being, Kristi and Kacie will enjoy every minute of time with each other sporting the same uniform and sitting side-by-side in the dugout.