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WCWS: Softball has made Henderson sisters that much closer

Top-seeded Bears advance after beating LSU 5-3 in opener at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Published: June 1, 2012
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/articleid/3680334/1/pictures/1734996">Photo - Mickey, left, and Joe Henderson cheer during Thursday’s California-LSU game at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Their daughters, Jolene and Danielle, play for Cal.  Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Mickey, left, and Joe Henderson cheer during Thursday’s California-LSU game at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Their daughters, Jolene and Danielle, play for Cal. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

These girls love to play ball.

“To get to play together again, they have such a great bond,” said Cal coach Diane Ninemire. “Danielle has a tremendous arm. She’s one of the best third basemen I’ve ever coached, which has allowed us to turn a school record number of double plays. There’s a chemistry between them.”

The Henderson sisters do have opposite personalities, though.

Jolene is a free spirit whose room is a constant whirlwind. Danielle’s room is extremely clean.

“Jolene is very headstrong,” Mickey said. “That’s what makes her so successful pitching. You’re never going to tell her, ‘No,’ while Danielle does everything exactly the way she’s supposed to.”

Despite their personality differences, they know when the other needs encouragement. At last week’s Super Regional against Pac-12 rival Washington, Jolene was in an early jam. Danielle walked over to the circle.

“She told me, ‘You might want to try and get some outs because they have some guys coming up that can mash,’” Jolene said. “She knows I’m going to laugh after something like that. She knows exactly what to say.”

Jolene committed to Cal as a high school freshman. She wanted to remain within 90 miles of her sister and her suburban Sacramento roots.

Ninemire said the Henderson sisters, shortstop Cheyenne Cordis and catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt — two other Cal players from the Lady Magic junior national champion summer team — brought a team camaraderie.

That reminds Ninemire of Cal’s 2002 national champion team built around the West Bay Nuggets, another summer team that won a junior national championship.

“When you recruit a lot of players off the same team, you don’t have to spend much time on team chemistry because it’s been there since they’ve been 12,” Ninemire said. “That’s really helped us get through a lot of things, a great advantage.”

And if the Bears were to win a national title?

“I’m not a crier at all, but (I) started crying when Danielle hit her first home run in her first game this year. I was so proud,” Jolene said. “If we were able to share something like that, it would be so special.”


Read the rest of the story on Oklahoman.com
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