Arkansas freshmen Hannah and Lauren Camenzind high-five during Monday’s game against Tennessee. The twins from Valley, Nebraska, have become important assets to the Razorback softball team during their first year in Fayetteville.


Ten years old, watching softball highlights on YouTube and looking up to their hitting coach’s daughter who played in college, Lauren and Hannah Camenzind set goals at an early age.

Now freshmen at the UofA, the two have become one of the Razorbacks’ most reliable batteries.

“(Hannah and Lauren) are everything that we thought they would be,” softball head coach Courtney Deifel said in a press conference Friday. “They’re competitive, they’re incredibly athletic, they are so level with their mindset. They’re consistent with who they are everyday.”

The twins’ softball career goes back 15 years to when they started playing at age four. Originally, they both worked as pitchers, using one parent each to catch for them in the bullpen. At around 10 years old, Lauren decided pitching was not for her, so  that was when she started helping their parents out by catching Hannah. Despite her starting position behind the plate as a college freshman, Lauren mostly played as a middle infielder.

“I’ve never really had a catching lesson,” Lauren said. “(What I know is)  just kind of what I’ve taught myself to do, just from catching my sister in her bullpen. I just had to trust that I know what to do and know I can do a great job back there.”

The freshly established full-time catcher has played in 42 games this season, racked up 244 putouts and has only committed two errors.

“(Our bond) helps me as a catcher,” Lauren said. “I have the confidence to get after (Hannah) a little bit.. When she misses her spot, I feel more comfortable being hard on her than I do any of the other pitchers, just because she is my sister.”

Hannah said she and her sister have always been close, but have strengthened that bond now because Lauren has permanently taken on the role of catcher. 

“It gives me a lot of confidence knowing I’m throwing to someone who knows me so well,” Hannah said. “(Lauren) knows when I need to talk, when I need a timeout. She’s caught me for so long she can notice anything that’s going wrong.”

Hannah has a 4-2 record in the circle, starting eight of the 25 games she’s played in. The freshman has struck out 20 batters with a 2.37 ERA. Rolling off a solid performance against Tennessee this past weekend, on Tuesday it was announced Hannah earned her third SEC Freshman of the week title.

From tee ball to little league to club ball and Skutt Catholic High School in Valley, Nebraska, the Camenzinds have never played on different teams, and they knew coming into college they wanted to keep that streak alive.

“In the beginning we told everyone that we really wanted to stay together,” Hannah said. “It was basically both of us or we weren’t coming at all… From the beginning it’s been our dream to play together at the college level.”

Recruiting for the twins from Arkansas began before they even made it to high school. The sisters remember meeting with Razorback coaches in between middle school basketball games, and by the time they went to a winter camp at Bogle Park as eighth graders, they had their eyes set solely on Arkansas.  Lauren said the Razorback coaches always made a point to reach out to her and her sister for more than their athletic ability.

“(Arkansas) coaches never missed a beat,” Lauren said. “If we had a big game, they were always there. They always congratulated us on a win. They always knew what was going on in our lives… They weren't just there to watch us play softball, they knew about our big life events.”

The Razorback coaches have gotten to be a part of most of the twins’ big milestones, and finally having them on the Hill creates a full-circle moment for the staff. At the mention of the sisters, Deifel’s face is known to break into a big smile.

“It’s been really fun watching them grow,” Deifel said. “They’re competitors. They’re never overmatched by anybody. They just compete and find a way to get it done. (They’re) just really fun to work with on a daily basis, they’re just level and really coachable.”

Coming from a small Nebraskan town of about 1,800 where everybody knows everybody, the sisters have enjoyed Fayetteville’s small town-big city feel. Outside of softball, they enjoy the classes, professors and the people they have met.

The Camenzinds have been able to have a family member at every home game this year who always make friends with the fans, which brings the sisters closer to the Razorback community. Being able to share the big collegiate moments with family has been something the sisters have always worked towards.

“We went to TopGolf after one of the games with our family,”Hannah said, “and we looked up and it was the highlights from our game and we were pitching and catching to each other. I was like ‘Oh my gosh, that’s crazy!’”

Within softball,  Hannah said all the coaches have made her feel welcomed and cared about far beyond the diamond. Lauren said junior Hannah Gammill and graduate manager Taylor Ellsworth have made solid impacts on her catching skillset with their encouragement and direction.

Out of the cleats, the girls like to share time with family, friends and their two English bulldogs, Willie and Waylon. The sisters also enjoy getting to see states and cities with their team that they would otherwise probably never travel to. One of their favorite things to do with teammates during away games is finding the nearest Target to explore.

Next up, the Camenzinds and the rest of the Razorbacks will hit the road to take on the Missouri Tigers. Arkansas sits at 13-8 in conference with a 9-4 record on the road.  Starting at 7 p.m. Friday,  the series will stream on the SEC Network Plus.

“They have a unique bond,” Deifel said. “They way that they embrace everyone around them…They are just as great as you get to watch from the outside and even more so from the inside.”

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