For most of their lives, Kayla and Tori Hall have learned nearly everything they know about the game of softball from their father, Bob.But when the high school softball season starts, the family bond also turns into family rivalry.That’s because Bob is the head coach at Lake Norman, while Kayla, 18, a senior and Tori, 16, a sophomore, both start for archrival Hough High.“My dad has taught us so much about the game and he’s one of the best coaches you will ever see,” Tori Hall said. “He has really pushed us but also let us make our own mistakes. The girls at Lake Norman are really lucky to have him as their coach. But since he is our dad, of course, Kayla and I want to beat him.”Neither Kayla or Tori Hall has beaten Bob in a high-school game, as Kayla is 0-6 against Lake Norman in her three years at Hough. Tori is 0-3, as the Wildcats beat the Huskies 9-0 and 4-3 in the regular season last year before outlasting them 9-7 in the I-Meck tournament final.Those wins have all been a part of the Wildcats’ domination of the I-Meck recently. Lake Norman won back-to-back league titles (2011, 2012) and are 74-8 in the last three seasons under Hall.“We have a lot of fun playing against other,” said Hall, laughing. “They have a great team, and I hope they have a great year but still finish in second place.”Meanwhile, Kayla and Tori are part of a hard-charging Hough team that went from 8-14 in its first year as a squad and school in the 2011 season to 19-7 overall, including 11-3 in the I-Meck to finish second behind Lake Norman last season. However, both Hall girls were quick to point out that Hough advanced to the third round of the 4A state playoffs last season, while Lake Norman made it to the second round.This year, both Halls play an integral role on the Huskies, with Tori starting at second base, while Kayla is taking on the Hough starting catcher role this year before she moves back to her natural right field position at the College of Charleston, where she has committed to play.Hough has a wealth of talent, with players like senior Erika Brescia, all-state junior Katelyn Shifflett and sophomores, Casey Brescia, Leah Murray, Hannah Jones and more, looking to lead Coach Mary Lee Giurintano and the team to an I-Meck title and beyond.But to do that they will have to overtake their dad and his Lake Norman team, whose roster is littered with most of Kayla’s best friends – whom she also plays with on her club team, the Carolina Comets. Kayla Hall’s Comet teammates include the Wildcats’ Shelby Bailey, Kayla McGuffey and Dominique Wilson, whom she has been playing with since she was 12.“You have no idea how pumped up I get to play against Lake Norman,” Kayla Hall said. “I feel like I am running 1,000 miles an hour, throwing it harder and just wanting it a little bit more. They are the No. 1 team and the team to beat in our conference and then, of course, there’s my dad over there.”The Halls will first meet this season when Lake Norman travels to Hough on March 28, followed by a match-up at the Wildcats’ on April 30. Beyond that, the two teams could meet in the I-Meck softball tournament or the playoffs.Either way, there will be a lot on the line in the Hall household.“The banter about the Hough-Lake Norman (softball) game, at least in my house, usually starts a couple days before the game,” Bob Hall said. “Both Kayla and Tori are very competitive, so they are always telling me that they are going to get us, this time. I want them to give us their best shot. That’s the way it should be.”When Bob is on the opposing sideline and either Kayla or Tori come to the plate, the Lake Norman coach and Hough father says he is not cheering against his daughters.“I want them to get a hit,” Bob Hall said, laughing. “But then maybe get thrown out once they get on base.”So with Bob on one sideline and Kayla and Tori on the other, who does their mother, Jean, cheer for?“My mom is my No. 1 fan and Tori’s No. 1 fan, so she’s always cheering for us,” Kayla Hall said. “I’ll quote her here, she says, ‘He’s a grown man, he doesn’t need me to cheer for him.’”Meanwhile, Tori says, they look forward to deciding this battle on the field.“We all want to win it,” Tori Hall said of the Hough-Lake Norman rivalry. “Each year, we’ve gotten a little closer. But in the end, I just say may the best one (team) win.”
Friday, Mar. 15, 2013
Hall rivalry is all in the family
From left are Kayla, Bob and Tori Hall.