TAMPA, MAY 1, 2020 – Brooke and Bailee Leistl are sticking together, no matter what.

Right now, that requires the close sisters staying safe at their Bay area home in Valrico during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once it’s all good to go back to campus, both Bulls will be delighted to return to doing what they love as USF softball teammates.

“I always know I have that one person I can lean on,” Brooke said. “It’s cool to look and see her at the field. It feels like home to me. It’s always felt like home, but literally a piece of my home is now with me at all times.”

This past season marked a very rejoiceful softball reunion for Brooke, a 21-year-old redshirt junior, and 19-year-old freshman Bailee, who was nicknamed “Buster” back in high school by her big sister.

“I’ve looked up to Brooke my whole life,” Bailee said. “I think it’s cool that I get to play with my role model, a person who I think is a big part of why I’m here today.”

The path to playing for their hometown college team started years ago as kids who got going in the bat-and-ball game at Bloomingdale Little League. Both natural righties ended up becoming left-handed slap hitters who excelled for Newsome High School.

“My dad, I think he tried to clone us to be the same type of person,” Brooke joked.

It certainly appeared that way in the field back in 2016, when prep senior Brooke patrolled center field and Bailee, a freshman then, was a lockdown right fielder.

“People even say we look alike in the field,” Bailee said. “Our mannerisms are the same.”

Read the full article by USF Senior Writer Tom Zebold here.