Detroit Lakes juniors Taylor and Laura Prussia want to assure everyone that they are twins. The two had to do a lot of convincing at a young age, informing people to ask their parents when questioned. Taylor has straight brown hair and brown eyes and is 3 inches taller than Laura. Laura has curly red hair and blue eyes. Even their personalities are different.
There is one thing the two softball players undoubtedly share.
"They hit the ball hard," Detroit Lakes head coach Phil Kirchner said.
The two have helped Detroit Lakes get to its first state tournament in school history. The Lakers will open in the Minnesota Class 3A quarterfinals against No. 2 seed Northfield at 11 a.m. Thursday at Caswell Park in Mankato, Minn.
Following in the footsteps of their older sister, the Prussias hit bombs. Laura has nine homers this season and 18 for her career with the Lakers. She's within striking distance of her older sister, Sydney, who graduated in 2017 and finished with 26 homers in her career at Detroit Lakes. According to the Minnesota State High School League, Sydney's 26 career homers are fourth in state history. Sydney plays softball at the University of Jamestown.
"She's definitely pushed us," Laura said. "She's left someone for us to look up to. We try to strive to be how she was in high school."
Laura made her own history, hitting four home runs in a game last season that tied a MSHSL record. Her first two homers were on the first pitch she saw in both at-bats.
"That game was surreal," Laura said. "Honestly, I just tried to hit the ball hard and it just kept going over. Every time I was shocked. I'm kind of surprised they kept pitching to me."
Taylor's four homers this season look small compared to Laura, but she's come a long way from last season. She's made strides on her batting average, as she was a .186 hitter in 32 at-bats with no homers as a sophomore. This season, she's hitting .333 in 69 at-bats.
"She's a strong girl and if she stays within herself, she can hit for average," Kirchner said of Taylor. "She's a staple in our outfield, best arm on the team. She can't compare herself to Laura, she has to do her thing.
"I knew this family was good to have in the program. They've helped win a lot of games."
This is no accident. The Prussias have a batting cage in their basement. Their dad played fastpitch softball when he was young. They have an older sister and each other for encouragement. The twins said they don't remember a time without softball, as some of their earliest memories are being outside with their dad playing softball.
"There's a definitely a reason where all this came from," Taylor said. "Our dad has been teaching us for years and Sydney paved the way for us. We definitely have looked up to her skills and the way she helped the team."
This is Kirchner's final season coaching. After 18 seasons coaching the Lakers, he decided before this season that this would be it. His daughter is graduating and he wants to watch his son play baseball.
Before he leaves, the Lakers are headed to the state tournament for the first time. Sydney was at the section championship to watch the Lakers and her sisters clinch a section championship.
"I just think it's all the years of hard work these girls put into it," Kirchner said. "People don't realize we play 30 games in the summer and around 20 in the spring. It's a busy time for these kids and they put in the time. We're enjoying this ride."
In the outfield, at the state tournament, the Prussia twins will be next to each other, with Laura in center field. At the plate, outfielders on opposing teams could be watching softballs go over their heads thanks to the Prussia twins.
"It definitely feels super weird that we are still going," Laura said. "At this point, we would've ended our season normally. It's super great we get to continue and it means a lot to this program. It makes a big impact and shows that softball is a good sport to be in."