Michelle Ogle has a half-inch or so on her sister. Marianne's blonde hair is a little shorter.
"That's about it," says Michelle. "After that, we're just about exactly the same."
When Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino was figuring in last week's numbers to the season's overall statistics, the Ogle twins, senior cornerstones of the top-ranked Gophers infield, had identical .385 batting averages. Coincidence?
"They're the exact same age, not even a minute apart. My wife had a C-section and they were hugging each other when they came out," said their father, John.
Eighteen years and a couple of months later, the Ogle twins are still almost as inseparable.
On the diamond, Michelle can be found at first base while Marianne is not far away covering third and sometimes short.
On the soccer field, Michelle anchors the midfield while Marianne plays up top, becoming the Gophers all-time career leader scorer with 31 goals and 17 assists last fall.
Marianne is a sales clerk at Sear's, juniors clothing; Michelle has the same position at J.C. Penney's in the bed and bath department -- at the same mall.
"I've never gone without a twin, so I don't know what it's like not having one," said Michelle. "There's always someone there. When you want to go somewhere, others have to call a friend. For me, Marianne is always here. We talk to each other about everything. If I have a hard day, I talk to Marianne about it first."
Sports has always figured prominently. Soccer, with the outdoor season in the fall and indoor in the winter, takes up half the year with softball taking care of the rest. The two will play both when they go to Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina next fall.
Right now, the focus is on softball and bringing a state title to Glen Burnie. The Gophers are 12-4, have won their last six games and are playing their best ball of the season.
Broccolino said the Ogle twins have provided plenty of everything in their three years of varsity. Michelle started out in center field as a sophomore, but made the smooth transition to first base last season. Marianne has spent most of her time at third base, but when Michelle Whelan is pitching, she looks right at home playing short.
"They are two of our best hitters. You put them in the middle of the lineup with Bonnie Nevin and that's a nice three-four-five punch," said Broccolino.
"Defensively, they're both amazing. Michelle's height [she's 5-10] at first base is a big advantage and she can sky. Marianne JTC has great range at shortstop and is so quick at third. It really helps out our pitchers, any part of our infield is solid, but if anything is hit to one of the Ogles, they know it's going to be an out. They both want to win at all costs."
Most agree Marianne is the calmer of the two and Michelle is a little harder on herself on the softball field when things aren't going quite as planned.
During games is when they are most easily identifiable -- Michelle has No. 17 on her back with Michelle sporting No. 16. Other times, it's a mystery, but the two are too nice to take advantage of the identity crisis they could create.
"People get us mixed up all the time. Someone is always calling me 'Michelle,' " said Marianne. "One time, Michelle went to my class when I was out, but my name was on the absentee sheet so we got caught. That's about it."
While their only other sister, Valerie, is about to come home after a standout soccer career at Ferrum College in Virginia with a degree in child psychology, Michelle and Marianne will soon be leaving the nest for North Carolina. Marianne plans to study sports management, while Michelle will focus on a pre-dental major. And yes, they will be rooming together.
"I know I won't be as homesick because she'll be there," said Michelle. "I'll miss my parents, but as long as Marianne's there, we'll be fine."
Pub Date: 5/03/98