Dryden family fills Northwest's roster

Published: May. 9, 2019 at 9:37 PM CDT
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Cody Stucky has never seen anything like it before: four Drydens on his Northwest softball roster.

"I've never had that many...I'm trying to think," he recalled. "I don't know if I've ever even had sisters. I've definitely never had twins. I can't remember if I've ever even had the last name, where you have the same last name."

It all started when senior Lexi Dryden transferred from Goddard to join her cousin Kayli last year.

"I begged my parents, begged them to let me come here. It took a whole summer of begging," she said. "We weren't going to play in college together and I wanted to at least play a couple of seasons with her."

Now the power duo of Lexi and Kayli Dryden has a set of twins to watch over. Enter freshmen Laci and Lani -- the younger sisters of Lexi, and cousin of Kayli. All four Drydens have enough personality to fill an entire lineup.

"[Our teammates are] always like, 'here come the Drydens!' because they know we laugh all of the time, we joke around, and we like to have fun," Lexi said.

Stucky doesn't seem to mind that the girls are "kind of goofy," as he puts it, because they get the job done. The foursome claimed he tries to break them up during drills to no avail.

"They seem to get along well," he said. "They're more like sisters than cousins and sisters."

It's a bit of an understatement. It was hard to get questions in during their banter. The Drydens fill any dead air with inside jokes about their team practices and laughter about who is "it" in an ongoing game of tag. Their chemistry is contagious, and is evident in their drills.

"We have little handshakes or when we get on the bases, we joke around and stuff," Lexi said. "Sometimes when Kayli's at bat, I'll give her fake signs to make her laugh in the box. It's so funny, we like to have fun."

As much as this group jokes with each other, they support each other ten-times more. However, sometimes the support can feel a bit suffocating, especially to the younger players.

"Sometimes when I tell them to do this, or try to fix something, they get frustrated, but really I'm just trying to make them better," Lexi said.

While Lexi appears to be the matriarch of the group, Kayli has her own special role as the mediator. She's never the "odd man out" of the sister trio, but she provides the girls a different perspective.

"That's when I come in, because I know that they're so frustrated that they don't want to listen to [Lexi]. I come in and I literally repeat the same thing and they're like 'okay,'" she said.

The freshmen twins kept mostly to themselves, only adding to the conversation when necessary. Lani made sure to show her gratitude for her softball family.

"If I get an error, they'll support me and encourage me to get the next one," she said. "They're just my biggest supporters, I guess."

The softball "family" extends to the rest of the Northwest roster, as well. All four Drydens are supported by Stucky and the rest of the Grizzlies.

"it's been great having them, it's been a blessing," he said. "They're great girls, they work hard, and they fill up half our lineup so it's pretty cool."