Tualatin grads Lauren Grill and Carlyn Re, who have been close friends since third grade, are taking separate paths to play collegiate softball
by: JAIME VALDEZ, BUDDIES ON AND OFF THE FIELD – Carlyn Re (left) and Lauren Grill, both 2006 Tualatin High School graduates, have been close friends since third grade. But now they’ll be playing Division I college softball in different parts of the country.

TUALATIN - It was just a simple game of wall ball.

It happened back when Lauren Grill and Carlyn Re were in third grade, looking for something to do during recess.

'Neither one of us had friends we played with at recess,' Grill said.

'I just asked her if she wanted to play wall ball together,' Re said.

That one simple game of wall ball during recess in third grade led to a strong, strong friendship.

It's a friendship that carried over to the softball diamond. Grill and Re, both 2006 Tualatin High School graduates, each excelled at the sport.

They both played for the Tualatin City Little League ages 9-10 softball team that won the state championship. They both starred for the Tualatin City team that reached the championship game of the 2000 Little League Softball World Series.

They both played four years of varsity softball at Tualatin High School.

All the while, their friendship grew stronger and stronger.

'We're like sisters,' Grill said.

'We fight like sisters,' Re added with a laugh. 'We've had a pretty strong friendship since we were 9.'

'Whenever people see me by myself, they always ask `where's Carlyn?'' Grill said.

Now, however, the friends - as close as sisters - will be apart. In fact, they'll be in different parts of the country - thanks to softball.

Re will be attending the University of Oregon on a softball scholarship. Grill also received a Division I softball scholarship - to the University of Mississippi.

'It seems like we've never been separate,' Grill said. 'We don't know what to expect. It's hard to believe that we'll be apart, but I know we'll stay close.'

'It's going to be different,' Re said.

And, probably, it won't be easy.

'She had a breakdown at the beginning of summer,' Grill, who was scheduled to leave for Mississippi earlier this week, said of Re.

Well, that's probably understandable.

After all, Grill and Re, and their families, for that matter, have been close for a long time.

That goes back to the World Series days, where Lauren's dad, Dave Grill, and Carlyn's dad, Tom Re, were assistant coaches for the Tualatin City team that reached the title game of the World Series played at Alpenrose Dairy.

Lauren Grill played at catcher while Carlyn Re, a left-hander, played at first base and pitched for the TC squad.

'That was probably was the last time I pitched,' Re said.

As freshmen at Tualatin High School, Grill and Re earned spots on the varsity of the perennially powerful Timberwolf squad. They were teammates at Tualatin High for all four years.

'We play well together,' Grill said.

'We always cheer each other on,' Re added.

As sophomores, Grill and Re started in the outfield for the senior-clad Tualatin team that was edged in extra innings by Westview in the 2004 Class 4A state title game.

As juniors, Grill moved to shortstop and Re played at first base for the Wolves. They both ended their high school careers with banner senior seasons.

'They're both great kids,' Tualatin High School varsity softball coach Dan Roisom said. 'They're fun to be around and they led by example. A lot of kids looked up to them.'

In their senior year with the Wolves, Grill again began the year at shortstop while Re played at first. But, near the midway point of the season, Roisom asked his two captains to change positions.

'They said they'd do whatever they needed to do to help the team,' Roisom said.

So Re moved to center field and Grill moved to catcher.

'I had so much fun playing at catcher again,' Grill said.

The position moves didn't seem to effect Grill and Re as they each put together standout senior seasons. They each earned first-team All-Pacific-9 Conference honors and they each were first-team Class 4A all-state picks.

Grill, in fact, was tabbed the Class 4A Player of the Year for her senior season that saw her hit for a .592 batting average with 45 base hits in 76 regular season at-bats. She had 11 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 33 runs scored and 34 RBI.

Grill also had a .592 on-base percentage, a .947 slugging percentage and she stole 16 bases in 18 attempts.

'They each had great senior years,' Roisom said.

'It was a really exciting season for us,' Re said. 'Our dads' favorite thing was for us to hit back-to-back doubles.'

Before their senior softball seasons at Tualatin, Grill and Re had their college choices to make.

'We always knew that we wanted to play in college,' Grill said. 'We knew we'd be the two to stick with it.'

'We never got sick of playing softball,' Re said. 'It's exciting, and kind of scary.'

Re's college choice was the University of Oregon.

'That was the prime location for me,' she said. 'I know some people on the team (including her former Tualatin teammate, Lovena Chaput), and the coaches were so friendly. I felt so welcome there.'

Re is looking to play at either first base or in the outfield for the Ducks.

'I don't really care where I play, but I just want to play,' she said. 'I'm going to go there and work hard.'

Grill's decision to go to the University of Mississippi was a bit more difficult.

'At first, I didn't want to go there,' she said. 'But, I visited there and I absolutely loved the school. Everything there revolves around sports. I loved it there. I didn't want to come home.'

Grill added that she'll probably be playing at third base for the Rebels.

'I think they'll both be successful in college,' Roisom said. 'They have great fundamentals, they have the basics down and they have the right attitude. It's going to be fun to watch Carlyn at Oregon. I hate to see Lauren leave the state. Oregon and Oregon State both really missed out on her.'

Re and Grill have both received their summer workout packets from their respective schools.

'We've been doing a lot of power lifting and sprints,' Re said. 'We know that college softball will be completely different, but we'll be ready.'

But, before they head off to college, Grill and Re had one last summer playing softball together. Grill, with her bat, which she named Achilles, and Re, with her bat, Hector (both named after characters in the movie Troy), helped lead the Oregon Gold Panthers to the ASA national tournament (see related story).

'Summers have always been about softball,' Re said. 'That's what we always do. This summer has been really fun.'

'We have no regrets about playing softball every summer,' Grill said. 'Our teammates are our friends.'

Before Grill departed for Mississippi, her stepmother, Kellie Grill, was planning to have a dinner, with a southern theme in honor of the occasion, for a bunch of Tualatin families.

'I'm sure there will be some tears,' Lauren Grill said.

However, there might be a chance for a reunion between Lauren Grill and Carlyn Re next spring, as both the University of Oregon and University of Mississippi softball teams are slated to play in the same tournament to be held in Palm Springs, Calif.

'That's going to be a lot of fun,' Re said.

And, who knows, there just might be time there for a quick game of wall ball.

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