A short time after it began, the coronavirus pandemic forced the CIF to cancel the rest of the spring sports season, which meant an abrupt ending to the high school careers of spring sports seniors around the central valley. As a way of honoring some of these outstanding seniors, our Sports Central team will be presenting a series of stories called “Senior Standouts” each Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday through the end of June.
CLOVIS, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Before the coronavirus pandemic halted its season, the Clovis softball team was 9-1 and thinking a third Valley title in the last four years might be possible, thanks in no small part to a sister act on the mound, and behind the plate.
“They do a really good job of being by each other sides and having each other’s backs,” says Clovis softball head coach Mike Noel.
Well, most of the time that is.
Because there have been times when these fraternal twins born one minute apart — Allie Puente, the pitcher, and Kassie Puente, the catcher — have let their sisterly squabbles carry over to the diamond.
“I’ll be like, ‘don’t talk to me, stop,’ and we’ll call timeout,” says older twin Allie. “And I’d be like, ‘why’d you call that pitch? Why would you do this?'”
“She’ll just tell me to go away (when I visit the mound),” says Kassie. “Or she’ll purposely aim it (the pitch) in the dirt, to kind of like, try to hit me.”
Allie carried the confidence and swagger that came with of being one of the best pitchers in the Valley.
“I like to say, ‘I developed it myself,'” says Allie. “It’s my own little swag I guess.”
She was the TRAC Pitcher of the Year as a junior, and had been nearly unhittable through eight games this season, striking out nearly two batters per inning.
She was also impressive at the plate. Despite the short senior season, she leaves Clovis third on the school’s all-time home runs list with 11.
“She’s got a little ornery streak in her, that you know, as a coach, I really like,” says Noel about Allie, who once had a game her junior year, where she hit three home runs, drove in nine runs, and also threw a perfect game.
Kassie meantime, was the calm, steadying influence behind the plate.
“I am more mature than her (Allie),” says Kassie.
Kassie hit for a solid average, and never made an error in 50 career games.
“Kassie is a great leader,” says Noel. “She was our other coach on the field.”
These two will be playing softball at Marymount California University in the fall, an NAIA school in Rancho Palos Verdes. And the Puente package will also include a third sister in the same Marymount recruiting class, older sister Emily.
“Everyone kind of tells me, ‘you know, you’re gonna be their mom when they’re over there (at Marymount),” says Emily. “I mean, I’ve kind of taken that role here (in Clovis).”
Emily was a star first baseman at Clovis, where she hit a school-record-tying 19 career home runs, before spending the last two seasons at Fresno City.
“We tell each other everything,” says Emily. “We know each other like the back of our hands.”
“I think it’s got to be a dream situation for a family to have that situation,” says Noel, about all three sisters playing at Marymount together.
“We’ll always be family in the end, regardless of where we go,” says Kassie. “But it just made it better that we’re all going to Marymount.”