Sweetapples are a triple threat at Fort Lauderdale

03/13/2014 12:01 AM

03/13/2014 1:35 AM

Sweetapple is an unusual name — unless you live in Glovertown, Newfoundland or play baseball or softball at Fort Lauderdale High, where triplets bearing that moniker have made their mark.

The Sweetapple triplets are seniors who excel in sports but are even better in the classroom — all have grade-point averages well over 4.0.

Matthew is the oldest of the three — he’s a 5-9 third baseman. He has a 4.8 GPA but is off to a slow start on the field, hitting .154. But he is one of the team’s four captains.

Brooke, who is 5-3, is the middle child. She has a 4.2 GPA and leads her softball team in hits while batting .533.

Sarah is the baby of the family and the smallest at 5-0. She has a 4.9 GPA, leads her team with 17 runs scored and is batting .424. She is also a standout pitcher.

And, naturally, Brooke is her catcher, making the Sweetapple triplets story even sweeter.

“Anytime you have triplets, it’s rare,” said Fort Lauderdale softball coach Kathleen Kennedy, who has made Brooke and Sarah two of her three captains. “But it’s extremely rare when you have triplets who are all accomplished in the classroom and in their sports.”

All those Sweetapples running around — that’s kind of rare, too, unless you are in Glovertown.

“That whole city [Glovertown] is full of Sweetapples,” said Cathy Sweetapple, the mother of the triplets. “We haven’t been there, but my brother-in-law and some other relatives have gone.”

The Sweetapple kids, who turn 18 on July 9, will be seeking greener pastures when they graduate high school in a couple of months.

Matthew, who wants to become an engineer, will attend Rollins College in Winter Park.

Brooke, who plans on being an art major, will attend North Florida.

And Sarah, who wants to study psychology with an interest in criminology, is deciding between Rollins, Florida State and Elon (N.C.).

Cathy and her husband, Lewis, were married in 1986 and tried for a decade to get pregnant. Finally, on the fourth round of in-vitro-fertilization treatments, they “hit the baby jackpot,” Cathy said.

The kids grew up playing ball at Fort Lauderdale’s Holiday Park, and it soon became apparent that Matthew and Sarah were the most competitive of the triplets.

“I’m always telling them to stop fighting,” Brooke said. “I’m the peacemaker.”

Cathy said Brooke “straightens her hair and cares about how she looks, but then she straps on the catching gear and never misses a game.”

Meanwhile, Sarah has struck out 36 batters in 36 innings and has a 1.55 ERA.

“In my six years at Fort Lauderdale, Sarah is the most competitive student-athlete I’ve coached,” Kennedy said. “Her will is unbreakable.

“She faces a lot of batters who are bigger and more powerful than her, but she whizzes the ball past them. They are taken aback.”

The triplets, who share one class together — AP physics — do not plan on playing college sports.

And, unless Sarah chooses Rollins, the triplets will all be at different colleges this summer.

“It’s going to be hard to be without them,” Brooke said. “It’s going to be different but good.”

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