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Tuttle trio invading Stars' softball team as freshmen

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

LILBURN -- "Are we smiling?"

"No."

"We should smile. We smile. We are nice people."

It's a group picture and the Tuttle siblings differ in their opinion on how to appear.

Tayler is against it. She wants to look tough. It's softball, after all. MacKenzie goes the other way. Smiling shows their personalities. Brittany just wants to know where to stand and is more concerned about the look of her busted lip than if she should show her teeth or not. The switch hitter walks back and forth to the far side of either sibling, ready to pose.

Eventually the verdict is a series of pictures. Some with smiles. Others serious. Tayler's smile is more of a sun-in-the-eyes squint and MacKenzie's game-face has the look of a stifled grin. Brittany does as instructed.

A broad brush of the Tuttles would make the three out as identical sans the mirrored faces. They are triplets. They are all girls. They are all strong students. They are athletes and all three chose to pursue softball. Their matching orthodontia only adds to the perception.

Yet examine the tete-e-tete for the photo and the similarities fade.

The oldest, MacKenzie, concerns herself with the appearance to the family. She doesn't want her "ums" quoted wants people to see the Tuttles as friendly, welcoming.

"We are nice people, hello, we smile," she says again, later.

Her mother calls her, "my little adult."

Then there is Tayler. She doesn't want to smile says as much. Tayler is the youngest and self-described "girliest" of the three. She is the artsy, disorganized sister who all concur would win the family 5K.

Brittany waits her turn to speak. She allows her siblings to lead conversations and warms slower to strangers.

"I am shy when I don't know people," she says. "I am not going to go up to people. Another good thing about them is I don't go up to people and say, 'Hey what's up?' I will be like, 'Guys, go and talk to them.'

"If we are all three in the car I won't get a word in."

Brittany excels in science, Tayler in English. MacKenzie battles with French and the other two laugh, having chosen to take Spanish.

Where they agree is softball. They don't play it the same, but they play it all the time.

"There are very few girls that I have coached that cannot get enough (softball)," Providence coach Scotty Strong says. "To have three of them at the same time and related, I am thrilled to be able to coach them."

They started playing softball around age 7. Brittany started first, then MacKenzie joined.

"Tayler joined because she got tired of going to the games," their mother, Cindy Tuttle says. "They have a lot of natural God-given talent. They all have a real passion for it. Their first love it softball."

Cindy played softball in her younger adult years, but laughs when comparing her play to her daughters.

"I could hit and I could run fast," she says. "They are much better then I was."

Cindy claims a love of softball and thankfulness her three daughters all love the same sport. It saves miles on her car and some time in her days. She still leaves work early on game days to deliver the team snacks, but at least it's one team rather than three.

"Absolutely, I am very happy that they chose to play the same sport," she says.

When Cindy was pregnant with her girls she originally planned on just twins.

"I was all excited and I went back to the doctor and they did another ultrasound," Cindy recalls. "I could see there were three babies in there. I freaked out a little bit. I told the doctor I wasn't coming back because I didn't want to find out there were more.

"It was a nice surprise."

Having multiples is the only life Cindy, now a single mom, knows.

"Every age is a different kind of challenge," she says.

As teenage siblings, do they disagree and bicker? Sure. Do they fight? Not really.

"I have never seen them at odds," Strong says.

As freshmen all three start for the Stars. Different positions.

MacKenzie plays third, Brittany center field and Tayler is a catcher and right fielder. MacKenzie hits with power, Brittany slaps and Tayler puts the ball in play. The three have never played on separate teams or against each other, but they are still competitive within the game. Each wants to outperform.

"If Tayler comes to bat and gets a good hit and I am after her or something. I'll be like, 'OK, if she just got a good hit, I have to get a good hit,'" MacKenzie says. "Or if Brittany makes a good play, I'll be like, 'Oh, good, but I have to make a better play.'"

They day the Tuttles agreed to disagree on how to pose for a picture they were a few minutes late to the pregame stretches and warmup. They had been surprised after school by the photo shoot and had to refocus on playing softball. They all did it differently, but with the same result. The triplets all hit triples in the Stars' win.

"We're a package deal," Brittany says.