Meghan Durbin was mainly a pinch runner for Rollins in her first college season. Photo courtesy of Jim Hogue Photography
Courtney Durbin earned a starting spot and a place on the Sunshine State Conference second-team as a freshman at Rollins. Jim Hogue Photography
Sunlake graduates Meghan, left, and Courtney Durbin, both signed to play softball at Rollins College in 2012.
BY KYLE LOJACONO Tribune correspondent
Published: July 9, 2013
LAND O' LAKES - Courtney and Meghan Durbin have a special connection.
The 2012 Sunlake High graduates are twin sisters, but their bond is deeper than the fact they entered the world just 60 seconds apart.
The Durbins are linked by softball.
"A lot of people think that being siblings on the same team isn't good, and when we were younger and immature, we would get into arguments and fights all the time, but now we've grown together through softball," Courtney said. "We still have those twin moments when we have stupid fights, but it's better to have someone there who has your best interest at heart."
The twins have been teammates since age seven in the Land O' Lakes Little League, including being record setters with the Seahawks.
Courtney, an outfielder, hit .456 and stole 50 bases during her four seasons at Sunlake and ended as the sixth-year program's all-time leader in runs scored (129), RBIs (99), doubles (33) and triples (21).
Meghan batted .349 with 79 RBIs and 74 runs while playing second base and the outfield. She also has the program record with 221 strikeouts and 40 wins as a pitcher. Jami Finan, who coached Sunlake softball during the Durbins' junior and senior seasons, said the duo's work ethic always stood out.
"They had a strong determination and drive to be the best," Finan said. "They were also really big leaders, so they did everything a coach could want."
The Durbins' current roles are as scholarship players at Rollins College, a Division II program in Winter Park.
"We wanted to stay together, but we knew it wouldn't be easy," Meghan said. "Teams might not have room for two players at the same position. We started looking at different colleges, but we ended up staying together. . At times, when I felt overwhelmed with being a student-athlete - because it's not as easy as it seems - she's there to pick me up."
Courtney started 31 of Rollins' 52 games in the spring, with most of her appearances coming in left field. She hit .284 with a .389 on-base percentage, 14 RBIs, 13 runs scored and seven doubles while being a second-team Sunshine State Conference selection as a freshman.
"Going into college you're expecting to sit the bench the whole time and be a practice player," Courtney said. "I just had the mentality of work hard and hustle every time and make sure I was doing everything to show that I deserved a spot."
Meghan got into 26 games, mainly as a pinch runner, in her first season at Rollins, but also started three times in left field.
"It was pretty hard because Courtney got the position that I wanted," Meghan said. "I was happy for her, but it fueled that fire. She's my sister, but she's my competition, too. I'm making sure I get better so that when we go back in the fall I can give her a good run for her money."
Courtney said they've been working a lot on hitting this summer with the goal of helping Rollins make the NCAA Tournament in 2014.
"We were 44-8 this year and thought we'd get a regional spot," Courtney said. "We felt like we deserved to make regionals, so we left on a really bitter note. . We were actually practicing for a couple weeks after the conference tournament because we thought we were going to postseason. We watched the selection show, and when we didn't get in, it really devastated us. That's made us all work harder so it doesn't happen again."
The sisters have goals of victories, conference titles and deep playoff runs during the next three years, all of which they'll get, and want to, experience together.
"Land O' Lakes is always going to be my home, but I'm excited to find a place where we can be comfortable at where we can do things we've never done before," Meghan said. "I'm so happy we have this opportunity at Rollins."
Tribune correspondent Kyle LoJacono can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Kyle_LoJacono.