Pierce College is no stranger to siblings playing together on teams, but the softball team is packing an extra powerful punch in the form of a triple threat: the Suard sisters.
Twenty-year-old twins Susanna and Melissa Suard are returning to the team after playing last season, but this year their younger sister Amanda, 18, joins the team as well. They say that playing with each other brings out the best of their competitiveness and drives them to keep getting better.
“I think we have a better advantage because we’ve played together ever since we started,” Susanna said. “We know each other’s weaknesses, strengths, and know how to build each other up. I think it keeps us closer together.”
Sarah, their 16-year-old sister, is taking the softball class with her older siblings, but will not play on the team, due to her age and status as a high school student. She is able to take classes at Pierce because she is homeschooled, so her schedule is flexible.
The four sisters come from a family of ten children, ranging from 11 to 24 years old, all of whom were homeschooled. They liked the experience, and believe that in homeschooling, their parents raised them to want to succeed on their own.
“You can go at your own pace and you don’t have the slower people pull you down,” Melissa said. “If you have a question, it’s just you and the teacher instead of you and fifty other students.”
Susanna said that working at her own pace kept her from wasting a lot of time, and that she loved being able to stay at home and study with her best friends.
Since they weren’t involved in traditional schools, the Suards found softball through a Christian league, and joined teams at private schools.
“They allow you to participate,” Sarah said. “They have work that you have to do for each age like normal schools, but you can do it at home, and then you have to turn in the grades to the school.”
Susanna, Melissa and Amanda played softball for Faith Baptist High School, and each of their faces light up when they talk about their former coach JoAnn Quintero. They said that she has a way of coaching that inspires her players.
“When she helps you, she makes you want to push your hardest, no matter what,” Susanna said. “On the field, off the field: she makes you do your best.”
According to the Suard sisters, JoAnn makes softball a competition, driving her players to want to be the best while simultaneously having fun. As a result, the Suards have experienced a lot of “Ws,” according to Susanna, and don’t like the way losing feels.
“They’re very competitive,” JoAnn said. “As sisters they all strive for the same goals, and that’s to win, and win as a team. If someone’s not doing their share, they’re very upbeat, positive: picking up the team. They always bring that to all the games.”
JoAnn said she coached each of the girls for three years, and saw their maturity and level of play increase with each practice and every game. She doesn’t see how they can walk onto a field and not come away with a scholarship.
“They’re amazing girls. They just have so much life,” JoAnn said. “All three of them have a little different personality, but when it comes to playing, they give you their heart.”
The sisters are looking forward to the coming season, and while it is still undecided because the team is going through try-outs, Susanna will likely reprise her starting pitcher and first base positions from last season, while Amanda may be the starting catcher. Melissa played shortstop last season, but she said she will probably play center field this time around.
Melissa says she thinks the team will do well this year with all the new girls on the team.
“All the girls get along,” Amanda said. “And I think the coaches are stepping up from last year.”
Susanna hopes the team will do better than last year, when she said they had a lot of losses.
“I just want people to have a lot of heart and drive to really want the Ws,” she said. “Practice gives you a W. If you give 100 percent in practice, that’s how you’re going to do in the game.”