Softball's Haley and Carson Pace share a love for softball and the 49ers
Haley and Carson Pace took their seats across the picnic table on a partially cloudy Wednesday afternoon. The two look at each other and exchange giggles – the two’s friendship is already evident.
The two are just now becoming used to seeing the other on a daily basis. The softball sisters are back in action together after Carson transferred to the Queen City from Appalachian State this semester.
Their adventures began Haley’s 9th grade year when the two first came on campus for softball.
“Carson came on my first unofficial visit to Charlotte after my freshman year in high school. That’s when this whole process began,” Haley said.
Being able to tag along with her sister on the recruiting visit allowed Carson to see what she herself could accomplish.
“I remember coming to visit her and thinking ‘okay, this is where I’m going to college,’” Carson said.
Tragedy struck the Pace family when their father lost his battle with ALS Haley’s junior year of high school. Through the strife the two only became closer.
“That was something that really brought us closer together,” Haley said. “We became dependent on each other to make it through that.”
Then in her junior year of high school, Carson discovered a heart injury that proved to be a set back for her collegiate career. While attending a Charlotte camp her junior year in high school, Carson almost fainted. A visit to the doctors office would show that she had a hole in her heart between two of her atria – an incident common in infants.
“When we went to visit her in the hospital 16 year-old Carson was in the pediatric intensive care unit next to all of these babies,” Haley said.
While there was concern for Carson, an easy surgery fixed her heart and put her back on the diamond.
“Our dad had ALS, so that’s not fixable. Once we found out there was a solution for the hole, it was like ‘lets just go fix it,’” Carson said.
After undergoing open heart surgery, Carson still remained athletic and would eventually receive an offer from Appalchain State to play softball which accepted.
“I spent my first semester there and realized it wasn’t for me. Coach DeVos was really generous and told me there was a spot here for me,” Carson said.
When Haley heard that her sister was coming back to play with the 49ers, she was pumped.
“I was really sad on her signing day when she signed with App. I felt like this could be my last time getting to play with her,” Haley said. “I was really excited. I just love getting to play behind her for one more year.”
After Carson came to Charlotte, she moved in with her sister. Carson utilized Haley’s veteran knowledge to ease her transition into the team.
“She’s helped me find my own path too, so I won’t just be ‘Haley’s little sister.’ It’s been nice having someone who’s really experienced and respected to help guide me,” Carson said.
Due to NCAA transfer policies, Carson has to sit out the 2017 season of Charlotte softball. Being sidelined doesn’t damper her spirits however.
“Even though I don’t get to play, I’m so excited with just the whole situation here. I’m really happy I get to be here and be a part of the team,” Carson said.
Carson will be in the circle just in time for Haley’s senior season.
“I’m so thankful for everything that Charlotte has brought me from school to sports, having Carson here makes for the perfect senior year,” Haley said.
The Pace sisters can be seen in action, along with the rest of the softball team, in their home opener Wednesday afternoon as they take on Gardner Webb in a double header. The first game begins at 3 p.m.