Across NCAA Division I Softball this season, there are 22 sets of twins playing for the same program.
Coastal Carolina’s Paige and Peyton Rivas are on that list.
The Charlotte natives came to Coastal looking to boost an already stacked lineup.
“Speed, it was speed first and foremost,” said CCU softball coach Kelley Green of the twins’ contribution. “They are two of the fastest kids in the country. The speed that they bring, that’s something you can’t teach or coach.”
The Rivas sisters were getting a few looks from other schools in the region, including Sun Belt foe Appalachian State. The twins decided to go Coastal because they were given a plan of action right out of the gate when they met with Green.
“We walked in here on our unofficial visit and she said that she had big plans for us,” Peyton Rivas said. “When we went to other schools and met with coaches and recruiters, they weren’t as adamant about what their plan was for us. Here, we knew that our speed was going to be utilized.”
When it came to deciding on where to go, there was no chance the sisters were going to be separated and play at different programs.
“I don’t think I could be playing at a different school than Peyton,” Paige Rivas said.
For some colleges, that was a dealbreaker. They wanted one but not the other. That wasn’t the case for Green.
“It was never a question of wanting one or the other,” Green said. “They are both high level players. Why would I only want one? Usually, you’re trying to find one player that can be that person on your team. And then you’re given a chance at two? I don’t see how you can take one over the other.”
Both sisters had stellar starts to their freshman campaigns. However, things didn’t look so good for one of the Rivas sisters at the start of the new year.
Peyton Rivas suffered an injury to her calf.
“I was doing conditioning and all of my sudden my calf continued to go numb,” she said. “I went to the trainer and then went to the doctors to get it tested and it turned out I had compartment syndrome.”
Compartment syndrome is when increased pressure within one of the body’s anatomical compartments results in insufficient blood supply to tissue within that space.
Even after getting it treated, Peyton Rivas still had issues.
“After my surgery, my incision got infected and then I started to get drop foot,” she said. “It was incredibly frustrating because I had a couple of good games in the fall and after this I wasn’t sure on when I was going to be able to come back.”
The day that Peyton Rivas had her surgery, CCU was playing UNC-Pembroke on the road. It was the first time in their careers that the Rivas sisters weren’t with each other on the softball field for game day.
“It was difficult seeing my sister like that because she loved the game of softball so much,” Paige Rivas said. “On that day at Pembroke, I kept on wondering what Peyton was doing in that moment. It was really weird not having her there.”
The silver lining for this injury was that Peyton Rivas was able to rehab over Christmas break with her sister by her side.
“Over Christmas break, she was the one that was pushing me in rehab, keeping me on my drills and being there for me,” Peyton Rivas said.
“Even when she said no, I looked at her and told her that she was going to do these drills,” Paige Rivas said.
When the season started Feb. 7, Peyton Rivas learned she was going to be the leadoff hitter in the season opener. To prepare, she sought advice from the best leadoff hitter she knows — her sister.
“Paige is one of the best leadoffs I know going into college,” Peyton Rivas said. “I went up to her and said ‘Help me out here’ and she did the best that she could.”
Peyton Rivas is currently batting .381 and has an on-base percentage of .458. She also has tallied five stolen bases this season. Paige Rivas has been utilized as a pinch runner but has been able to record three RBIs, steal two bases and get a triple.
The Chanticleers just kicked off Sun Belt play this past weekend, and despite losing their opening Sun Belt series of the 2020 season, they managed to snag a win over the eighth ranked Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette.
The Chants were scheduled to face in-state foe South Carolina, currently ranked 15th, on Tuesday after press deadlines. The tough stretch continues with 2018 Sun Belt champion Texas State on the road over the weekend and a home matchup against 2018 College World Series Champions and current No. 12 Florida State.
When it comes to siblings, you typically hear of the “sibling rivalry.” That’s not the case with these two.
“We are always hard on each other, but that’s because we want to get the best out of each other,” Peyton Rivas said. “We always help each other out.”