Since they were 3 years old, Mackenzie and Madison Pickens have been running around softball fields at the American Legion Buford Recreation League in Buford, acquiring skills that have catapulted them to being on two of the top teams in the state of Georgia, the Buford High School varsity softball team and the Georgia Impact 06 Sampson travel team.
The high school juniors recently announced Mackenzie will play college softball for Ole Miss, while Madison is headed to Louisville.
“We are extremely excited about both colleges that Mackenzie and Madison have chosen to play at,” said the twins’ father, Richard Pickens. “As parents we could tell almost immediately that these were the colleges they were meant to be just based on the excitement and constant smiling that both schools brought to the twins both via phone calls and college visits.”
“I knew it was the right place for me from the day I stepped on the campus,” Mackenzie said of Ole Miss. “It is a small town and has a great school backing, which was exactly what I wanted. The coaches are great and I know I will get 10 times better when I arrive on campus.”
For Madison, Louisville became her choice because “I really enjoyed talking and spending time with all the coaches, which made me feel very comfortable with them. I loved hanging out with the current players and I just knew that there was no other place I would rather go than to Louisville.”
Both girls have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are and they consistently make plays that help their teams win.
“To get to the point where Mackenzie and Madison are today takes lots of hard work and dedication,” their father said. “After long days of school and practice they will go straight to PEAK Fitness and work out for hours with their trainer Cale, who has played an important and big role in transforming the girls into the players they are today.”
The twins also work with their defensive and hitting coach, Lincoln Martin, for hours each week. They have been well instructed by their Georgia Impact coaches, specifically Brett Sampson, as well as the coaches at Buford High School. Sampson has been credited with working on the mental aspect of the game, to which their father attributes a good portion of their success both on and off the field.
The results of all of their hard work speak for themselves. Madison has a career batting average of .411 with a .597 career slugging percentage. So far this season with the BHS varsity softball team, Madison is batting .480 and currently leads the Wolves in the number of runs scored (25) and in the number of stolen bases (17).
“The Wolves’ shortstop (Mackenzie) was a first-team all-state, all-region and all-county selection her first two high school seasons,” said Brad Brown, the BHS softball statistician. “She hit .462 with 12 home runs, nine doubles and six triples as a sophomore after hitting .449 with 10 homers, 53 RBIs, 12 doubles and six triples as a freshman.”
Both Madison and Mackenzie can be found battling alongside their teammates with Buford in the GHSA Class AAAAAAA Super Regionals on Thursday, Oct. 20, and Friday, Oct. 21, at the Buford Softball Complex. Buford recently won its 13th region title since the program began in 2002 and is currently ranked No. 1 in the state, according to MaxPreps.
FEATURED PHOTO: Mackenzie (left) and Madison (right) Pickens recently announced their college plans. Photos by David McGregor.