Sisters Kenzie, left, and Kori Kahkonen play softball at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Kori Kahkonen sat on the bench watching one of the lowest points of older sister Kenzie’s career.

Fast-forward a year and the sisters will be in the field together for what they hope is one of the highest points of both their careers.

The two Kahkonens are hoping to help lift the Oxford Hills softball team to a win over Skowhegan in the Class A North regional final Tuesday, a year after the Vikings fell to the Indians in the same matchup.

“It would be pretty awesome. Seeing how sad they were on their faces when they got that loss, it’d be really cool to come back and see how happy everyone will be,” Kori, a sophomore, said.

The younger Kahkonen spent much of last season playing on the JV team, but was pulled up to varsity by the time last year’s regional final came around.

It was the last time she sat and watched her sister play. And it was nearly the last time she put on an Oxford Hills softball uniform.

“I wasn’t even sure about playing softball this year, but I’m really glad I did because I now get this opportunity to even come this far,” Kori said.

“From my perspective, for senior year, I think it was just extraordinary for that to happen,” Kenzie said. “Made more memories that way.”

The sisters played on the same team at times growing up, first in little league, and then for a year in middle school, when Kenzie was in eighth grade and Kori was in sixth. They got a taste of what this season might bring this past fall, when they played together on the Oxford Hills varsity field hockey team.

But before this season together could happen, first Kori had to make varsity, which was far from a given.

“I was really hoping to, because our mom likes to come watch us both, and it’s a lot easier for everyone else,” Kori said.

Kenzie was hoping to get the opportunity to play with her sister as well, especially with it being the last chance for it to happen.

“I think it’s just been great. She has an age group of friends, I have an age group of friends, and we just bond together,” Kenzie said. “It just made it awesome, I guess.”

Not only did Kori make varsity, but she also earned a starting spot in left field — behind her older sister at third base.

“I’ve always loved watching her play because I like watching softball in general, and I’ve watched her for a long time, and I’ve always wanted to be like her, to play to her level,” Kori said. “I definitely know, like, how she plays, and how to be able to be there to back up if a ball does go by.”

“I try my hardest that it won’t come to that circumstance, but I know if it does go to her that — I mean, we’re always going to back each other up,” Kenzie said.

The two aren’t as close in the batting order. Kenzie has made a home in the Vikings’ clean-up spot, while Kori has hit from the bottom third of the batting order. But both have had big hits throughout the season, and they each have two home runs — a stat that they have talked about and held a friendly competition over.

The sisters talk often about softball, especially on rides home from games and practices. It’s a time for reflection and to unwind.

“It’s definitely something I’m going to miss when I go to college, that’s for sure,” Kenzie said.

Kenzie said this season has been one that she “can’t really put into words,” but “it’s fantastic that I got the chance to experience this.”

Getting back to the regional final has made it even better, and the sisters know that they are on the doorstep of a state championship berth, something that wasn’t even a dream of theirs because it never seemed liked a reality before this year.

However, they aren’t looking past Tuesday’s matchup against top-seeded and undefeated Skowhegan.

“I mean, we’ll take one game at a time, just like we did all season,” Kenzie said.

“And if it’s our last, then it’s our last,” Kori said. “But it was definitely worth it.”

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Sisters Kenzie, left, and Kori Kahkonen play softball at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

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