Whether it is on the diamond or in the pool, siblings Andie and Russell Eddeh both share a passion for competition.
The brother and sister, who reside in Pequannock, NJ, are following in the footsteps of their older brother, Mitchell, 15, who also swims.
Andie, 12, who is in seventh grade at Pequannock Middle School, is a catcher for Pequannock Township softball team as well as her travel team, the Pequannock Crunch. She made the 10/u All Star team for Pequannock as the starting catcher in 2016.
“I work hard for my position and it helps me in the game,” Andie said. “I want people to know how hard I’ve been working to help the team.”
Andie also swims for the Pequannock Piranhas like her brothers and had the opportunity to interview Michael Phelps with Mitchell and some of her swim teammates over the summer, which aired on Good Morning America.
Andie first began playing softball in kindergarten and recalled that there was no one else who could catch so she figured she would try. Being on her knees all game wasn’t the most comfortable thing, but she grew to love the position`.
Over the years she received training from private professionals to improve her catching skills, which she feels greatly benefited her. She noted that as she got older her legs got more powerful and catching became second nature.
“In the beginning when I started catching I didn’t think of it as a main position,” she said. “I just thought of it as a position. Now I think of it as an opportunity that can help me in college.”
According to Andie, one of the most important aspects of being a catcher is having chemistry with her pitchers. While they are the ones throwing the balls and strikes, she needs to frame the pitches, know what to call, help keep them composed during games and ultimately have good relationships with them on and off the field.
“I like how I’m in every play and how I control the game,” Andie commented.
Andie credits a lot of her success to her parents, Kathleen and Mike and her coach Rocco Minervini. Her parents always tell her that if her knees hurt she needs to play through the pain. Furthermore, if the team loses or Andie has a bad game, her parents are always there to talk with her.
While she does swim like her brothers, softball is her true passion. She enjoys swimming, but prefers a team, rather than an individual sport.
Looking ahead, she plans to play softball in high school and hopefully in college as well.
Her brother, Russell,9, who is in fourth grade at North Boulevard Elementary School, is a multi-sport athlete as well and plays baseball, soccer, swimming and track.
He belongs to Paramount Multisport Morristown and competes in kids triathlons as well as 5k runs. His best 5k time is 25.07 minutes, which he accomplished at 8-years-old. He also swims for the Pequannock Piranhas summer rec team and the Lakeland Hills YMCA in Mountain Lakes. Russell was also the fastest kid this past year for kids 8 and under.
This past summer he didn’t lose one race for the Piranhas. Russell also loves playing with his travel soccer team, the Pequannock Pride and plays travel baseball for the Pequannock Patriots, who went undefeated this summer.
Russell, who began swimming at 5-years-old, said winning isn’t the only thing he loves about swimming.
“Swimming is my favorite,” he exclaimed. He explained that because he is swimming five nights a week and sometimes more, most of his friends are members of the team.
Russell’s love for swimming can be traced back to when he would attend Mitchell and Andie’s meets. Having two older siblings who swim have made it much easier for him when seeking advice about how to improve, he remarked.
Unlike his sister, he prefers the individual sport of swimming.
“You don’t do what you want to do if you are on a team; you do what the coach tells you,” he said.
However, he noted that being a multi-sport athlete has helped him become a better swimmer.
“If I didn’t do the other sports, soccer, running and baseball, then I probably wouldn’t have been in that good of shape,” Russell said. “Being a well-rounded athlete helps compete and win.”
By Jason Cohen
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