One of the most frequently written phrases by Morris Community High School coaches Todd Kein and Jen Lowery this spring figures to be “Lines, 6.”
Both Kein, who coaches the Redskins in baseball, and Lowery, the head softball coach, have a primary starting shortstop with the last name of Lines. Junior Trevor Lines won the position prior to the start of his varsity season. His sister, sophomore Leah Lines, is the Redskins’ shortstop after playing second base for the varsity as a freshman in 2012.
A family thing
The patriarch of the Lines family, Greg, was a middle infielder when he played baseball, but for the most part, he was a second baseman. Greg Lines went on to play at the University of Central Arkansas.
When Trevor began playing organized baseball as a child, he soon established himself as a middle infielder.
“Back (in tee ball), we just rotated positions, but after that, I’ve more or less been involved as a shortstop at every level I’ve played, with some second base,” Trevor said. “I’ve been a middle infielder basically my whole career.”
Leah had a similar trajectory. She can barely remember playing anywhere but the middle infield, which may not be accidental. Greg served as the coach for many of her and Trevor’s teams, and he also helped mold their skillsets in the backyard.
“My dad taught me a lot of things about the position,” Leah said. “Shortstop and second base are really closely related, so even though he was a second baseman, him helping me was never a problem.”
Both Lines siblings say they enjoy playing shortstop, and the responsibilities that come with it.
“It’s definitely my favorite position,” Leah said. “When I’m at shortstop, I try to be a leader on the field. I’m most comfortable there. It’s almost like second nature to me now.”
Trevor takes over
Then-senior Kenny Milosovic was the Redskins’ primary varsity shortstop in 2012. Trevor Lines played the season with the sophomore team, for which he batted .374.
When Kein looked to replace Milosovic this preseason, Lines made enough an impression that, with only a few days before the Redskins’ scheduled opener, his was one of the few positions Kein said was no longer contested.
“It definitely was an honor,” Lines said. “I know (Jason) ‘Boomer’ Matteson was the shortstop for the sophomore team two years ago. Then he got moved to the outfield because of Kenny being the shortstop, and he’s kind of stayed there. It worked out that way that the spot was there.”
Lines remains a regular presence at shortstop and in the thick of the Redskins’ lineup.
“Trevor is one of the spark plugs on our team,” Kein said. “He has been very consistent this season, making play after play and also coming through with some big hits in crucial situations. He had big shoes to fill coming into his first varsity season at short, and thus far he has handled the transition very well. “
Morris started the season 8-1 but has since lost four of its last seven.
“Things have gone good,” Lines said. “We had two tough losses to Yorkville in a row, but we’ve been talking the past few days about how we’re ready to go turn it around here as we keep going in our conference season.”
At an age where most of her peers are still getting acclimated to the sophomore level, Leah Lines is a varsity veteran. She played second base last spring when then-junior Laney Torkelson was typically at shortstop. Torkelson moved to first base this season, clearing the way for Lines.
Through nine games for the Redskins, Lines is hitting .238 with a double, two runs and three RBI.
“Leah is a hard-working athlete who is humble on the field and a great leader,” Lowery said. “She is always positive and leads by example. She has a lot of range in the shortstop position, along with nice hands and a quick throw. Her bat is very dependable as well; she hits the ball well and makes pitchers work hard.”
Lines is happy to share the title of Redskins starting shortstop with her brother.
“I feel really fortunate,” Leah said. “It’s awesome that we’re both starting there at the same school. One of the things I would say is that sports have brought us closer throughout our lives. Whenever I have trouble, he gives me tips and helps me, whether it’s with fielding a grounder or whatever, stuff like that.”
The sibling rivalry between Leah and Trevor Lines is minimal, if one even exists.
“We both are definitely competitive, but not really toward each other,” Leah said. “We’re excited for each other more than anything. ... We try to, like, look out for each other. But the one way it is competitive is if I go 0-for-3 and he is 3-for-3 the same day, then I’m definitely jealous.”
Trevor did have to spend last spring watching his sister playing varsity softball while he was a sophomore on the sophomore baseball team.
“Some of my friends gave me a hard time about it,” he said. “I didn’t really think about it that way. Those were two different situations. I was just happy to be playing.”
Leah says the “trash talking” about her early promotion was minimal. Both siblings agree that their relationship is one of support and mutual respect.
“I definitely don’t try to one-up her,” Trevor said. “I’m happy for her when she does good, and I hope she’s the same for me.”