Teal and Karlee Transburg have been joined at the hip since before they were born.
The fraternal twin sisters played the same youth sports growing up, fell in love with softball when they were 7 or 8 years old and attended the same schools.
Not much will change for the two recent graduates of Chugiak High, as they’ll both be studying and playing softball at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, for the next four years.
The Pride’s coaching staff saw them play during a tournament in Las Vegas and reached out to them around the same time.
“We were recruited together, but they didn’t realize we were twins until we started talking more,” Teal Transburg said.
They elicited interest and even received offers from other schools but decided to commit to Clarke because they “liked it a lot better.”
Before they move on to the next chapter of their lives, however, they’d like to cross one more goal off their senior bucket list: Win a Division I state championship.
“We’re really hoping to get first this year,” Karlee Transburg said.
The sister co-captains are two of the hardest workers on the team, according to head coach Jim Huber, and they’ve been equally as integral to the Mustangs’ success the past few years — especially during the team’s league-leading 10-game winning streak.
“They were both voted as captains by their teammates and are filling those roles nicely,” Huber said. “You’ve got two different personalities, and it’s always good to have that balance when you have captains.”
He speaks very highly of Teal and believes that she is “probably the best third baseman in the state of Alaska.”
“I call her my little pigpen because if she’s not getting dirty diving for the ball at least once a game, something’s wrong,” Huber joked.
He is especially proud of Karlee, a pitcher, who has overcome injuries in the last year and a half.
“She could’ve easily given up and just quit softball, but her love for the game shows by the way she has stuck with things, gotten healthy, and now a lot of this year rests in her right arm,” he said.
He has been coaching them for nearly a decade and has enjoyed watching them grow as softball players, but even more importantly as young women.
“To watch their growth and maturity level as far as not only their softball skills but how they go about preparing for the game and their softball knowledge,” Huber said. “They’re just two tough kids that I’ve enjoyed coaching for their whole high school careers, and before that.”
At first, Huber was surprised that they were matriculating to the next level as a package deal.
“It’s crazy because initially they did not want to go to the same school,” Huber said. “When the coach that was recruiting Teal found out she had a sister that was also a pitcher, they offered them a deal that they couldn’t pass up.”
Grateful for their differences
Karlee and Teal Transburg aren’t identical twins, and they say they’re opposites in many ways.
“I’m more talkative, and she’s quiet,” Teal said. “I’m clean, she’s messy.”
The two of them were roommates growing up until the end of their freshman year of high school, when they moved from Eagle River to Chugiak and got their own rooms.
Although they’re going to be in the same dormitory in college, they won’t be rooming together.
Teal plans to major in biology and be catcher and play third base, while Karlee plans to major in nursing and will probably be a pitcher and play first base.
One last hurdle to clear
The biggest obstacle that has impeded the Mustangs from claiming a championship in the last two years has been the two-time defending state champion, South.
Both Transburg sisters love their rivalry with the Wolverines because their games are always intense, Karlee said.
In the first matchup between the two teams this season, Chugiak established an early lead before surrendering it late and falling 8-7 in their season opener.
“South is always a difficult opponent,” Huber said. “They are well-coached, they’ve got some really good athletes on that team, and they hit the ball well.”
When asked how they feel about their looming rematch Saturday with the Wolverines, both Transburg sisters gave the same answer.
“We’re ready,” they said.