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Sibling Act

 Cameron softball coach Rodney DeLong and little sister Chelsea have always gotten along.

"I almost helped raise her and that has helped make us close," Rodney said.

"We've had a close relationship my whole life," said Chelsea.

That bond serves them well, because the siblings are one of the most unique player-coach duos in the country. Big bro directs the Aggies from the dugout, while baby sis calls the shots from behind the plate as the team's starting catcher. Together, they make up one of the only sibling player/coach duos in the history of the NCAA. 

"It is unique. I've seen brothers play together and sisters play together but for a brother to get to coach his sibling, his sister I think it's pretty special," Rodney said. "A pretty neat deal."

This season isn't the first time the DeLongs have paired up. Back in 2011, Rodney coached the MacArthur softball team during Chelsea's senior season. She signed with Seminole State College out of high school. When it came time to transfer to a 4-year university, coming home to Cameron was an easy decision for Chelsea.

"Him being my brother and turning around this program and knowing that my old teammates from high school and my traveling team were going to be on this team, it made Cameron the definite choice," Chelsea said.

Now that they coach and play together again, the DeLongs say that all the time they spend on the field has only helped their relationship. Their love for each other remains strong, even when coach Rodney gets on Chelsea's case. 

"I feel like he sometimes gets more mad at me and I can't take it too personal because I know it's just coach-player not brother sister," Chelsea said. "He's coaching me, not being a bad brother to me."

"You'd think that she'd have an attitude when I get on to her, but she actually handles my coaching just about like everybody else," said Rodney. "Sometimes I almost feel like I hurt her feelings more than I hurt other people's feelings so ya she just takes it kind of like other people do."

In Rodney's second year at the helm of the Aggies, Chelsea has played a huge role in the most successful season in Cameron history. As a junior she's hitting .306 with 7 home runs and 43 rbi. She has been even better behind the plate, throwing out 11 runners and compiling a .989 fielding percentage.

"She's a solid defensive catcher and can really control the run game. That's really the biggest part that she added to our team and the fact that she can hit, that's a plus," said Rodney. "But I knew defensively that she was going to make us 10 wins better." 

Under Rodney's guidance, the Aggies could be headed to the top of Division-II softball sooner rather than later. For the next year, Chelsea will be at his side to help Cameron climb the NCAA ladder, and learn the game from her big brother.

"It's like once in a lifetime. Not a lot of people can say that my brother coached me in high school but my brother coached me in high school and college," she said.

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