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Laguna Hills' Thies sisters make a good team
LAGUNA HILLS – Teah Thies is finally willing to admit it: She’s the slow one.
“I’ve given up trying to be the fastest,” the sophomore confesses with older sisters, Cali and Riley, sitting next to her on a set of bleachers behind home plate at Laguna Hills’ softball diamond.
It’s a rare point of concession – and the only one any of the sisters make on this day – in the ongoing sibling rivalry that engulfs the Thies household.
Bragging rights appear to always be shifting. Game to game. Practice to practice. Even training session to training session for Riley and Teah, who are both catchers.
But with the competition being constant, so too has been the development. All three Thies sisters have garnered Division 1 softball scholarship offers, and this week, Laguna Hills split the Sea View League championship with San Clemente for its first league title since 2010.
The focus now shifts to making a run in the CIF-SS playoffs, which start next week. The sisters want to continue as long as possible what will likely be the last time all three share the same field as teammates.
“These last two years have been such a break for us,” said the girls’ mother, Laura Thies. “In supporting them, there’s been times I’ve been in my car all weekend and never seen a game. One may be playing in Hemet, but you have to take one to south L.A., then go pick one up from practice in Laguna Hills.
“It’s a whirlwind sometimes, so it’s been a blessing to have them play on the same team.”
Prior to the past two varsity campaigns at Laguna Hills, the last time Cali, Riley and Teah shared the field was in 8-and-under ball. Cali, a senior, and Riley, a junior, frequently played on the same squad, with Teah, a sophomore, just in the rear view mirror. There are five Thies children overall.
The sisters seemed to naturally excel in whatever they played, but particularly softball. Their great grandfather on their dad’s side ran track at Ohio State with Jesse Owens in the 1930s, and their great grandmother on their mom’s side played in a women’s professional baseball league in Nebraska during that same period.
“I was in the eighth grade when a coach said, ‘Hey, colleges are starting to show interest in you,’” Cali recalled. “That’s the first time I thought (softball) could take me pretty far.”
As a freshman, she earned all-league honors and finished as the runner-up for the team’s most valuable player.
Riley joined her on the Laguna Hills roster the following year, and she captured team MVP honors. Last season, Teah snatched the crown from her sister as the team’s MVP.
“It’s one of the payoffs for longevity,” Laguna Hills coach Cary Crouch said of having all three talented sisters on the team. “There’s no new ones this year, so we’ll have to see what happens there.”
All three sisters rank in the top five on the team in average, hits and runs scored, one of the chief reasons Laguna Hills played its way to an 18-6 regular-season record, the most wins the school has had since 2011.
To get all three into the lineup, Crouch uses Teah as the team’s regular catcher, while Cali plays in the outfield with Riley, who is the team’s backup catcher.
Last month, Cali signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at Towson University in Maryland. In a year’s time, she’ll again be joined by Riley, who has committed to Towson.
Teah, who will only be a junior next year, doesn’t plan to reunite the trio in college. An avid surfer, she is adamant about attending a school on the west coast. She has committed to UC Santa Barbara.
“I’ve wanted to go to Santa Barbara for so long and it’s finally possible,” said Teah, who admits the school’s proximity to the beach is too appealing to pass up.
“We’re the same position anyway,” Riley jokingly added. “I wouldn’t want her there.”
The razzing never stops, nor does the competition. Together, though, they make Laguna Hills a scary team in the coming weeks.
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