By Grant Wall
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
The joke is becoming funnier the farther it gets in the rearview mirror. At the time, the prank played on Iowa State outfielder Kelsey Kidwell by her younger sister wasn’t funny in the least.
Kidwell, already a member of the ISU softball team, was anxiously awaiting her sister’s decision on where to play college softball. Always close, Kelsey was hoping the younger Heidi would choose the Cyclones as her home for the next four years.
And that’s where the joke begins.
Heidi made her decision and chose Iowa State, something she didn’t tell Kelsey when she called.
“I had it narrowed down to three schools,” Heidi said. “I decided I would come to Iowa State, but my parents thought it would be funny to call Kelsey and tell her I was going somewhere else. A couple minutes later our home phone rang and my dad answered. It was Kelsey and she was crying, saying what a horrible mistake I was making.
“My dad came back into the room and told me my sister was on the line crying and I had to call her and tell her I was going to Iowa State.”
Kelsey laughs at the incident now, but said it was not funny at the time.
“I was in her ear about it (coming to Iowa State) from day one,” Kelsey said. “I always tried to let her know it was up to her, but I felt the right decision was to come here. She’s already making a big impact on the team.
“But I was not laughing at the time.”
The Kidwell’s joint impact is being felt early in the Cyclone schedule. Iowa State is 17-15 going into Wednesday’s home opener against Northern Iowa. The Kidwell sisters currently make up two-thirds of the Iowa State outfield. Kelsey plays centerfield and bats in the lead off position, going .288 with 34 hits and 15 RBI on the season.
Heidi sees time opposite her sister in the outfield, and has made an immediate impact as a freshman. A slapper like her sister, Heidi has started 20 games and rounds out the nine spot. She is batting .286 with 18 hits, and has tied her sister for the team-lead with two triples.
The similarities in their games has allowed the Kidwells to work with each other to make themselves better.
“We play really well together,” Kelsey said. “She uses my experience as a chance to learn. She takes in the suggestions I have. We help each other out because we are both outfielders and slappers. We work together if we see something that needs to be worked on.”
Heidi and Kelsey have been working on their game together for years, and have spent their high school careers learning from one of the best. Both players took hitting lessons from Erin (Woods) White, a former Iowa State standout and member of the Canadian Olympic team. After Kelsey graduated from Solon High, White was named the head coach where she tutored Heidi for the last two years of her prep career.
“It was great to have her as a coach,” Heidi said. “She taught me so many things that I didn’t know. She taught me how to slap. I grew up with her teaching me, and it was awesome to have her as a coach.”
Now that the Kidwell sisters are positioned in Ames, and their work together continues. Kelsey has taken on the role of teacher, while Heidi is the student.
“I treat her like any other teammate on the field,” Kelsey said. “I want her to succeed just like I want everyone else on the team to succeed. Her decision to come to Iowa State was one I was pretty happy with. We really enjoy playing with each other.”