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Bishop Sisters Leave Lasting Legacy At Liberty

(Photo by Joel Coleman)

The Bishop name is one that will be etched in Liberty softball’s record books for decades to come. It will be one that leaves a lasting impression on many softball fans nationwide.

Autumn Bishop and Amber Bishop-Riley were just a couple of humble California girls who wanted their shot at making history. Now, they are one of only 20 sets of twins playing Division I softball this spring.

Traveling completely across the United States, from SoCal to Lynchburg, Va., Autumn and Amber fell in love with Liberty University and the potential they saw in head coach Dot Richardson’s program.

“When we came to visit, coach (Richardson) asked us if we wanted to be on a team that already had a tradition of winning or if we wanted to be a part of a team that will start the tradition of winning,” Autumn said. “I wanted to be a part of putting Liberty softball on the map. I wanted people to know who Liberty was.”

Put Liberty on the map they sure did. In their time at Liberty, the sisters have helped lead their program to three 40-win seasons and have compiled a near 67% team winning percentage. The Flames currently sit at 37-12 this season and have secured the top spot in the North Division for the 2021 ASUN Tournament.

This year, on April 2, Amber set Liberty’s program record with her 59th career homer. She also made NCAA softball history by becoming the first player to have five 10-home run seasons in her career. Her history-making slugging numbers continue to climb as the 2021 season unfolds.

“It was actually a relief to finally break our home run record,” said Amber. “I felt some pressure to break it because I was so close, but I am human, and in life, there are going to be times where you feel pressure.”

She adds: “I believe that the Lord is the absolute reason for all of my success. He surrounded me with amazing people that encouraged, taught and supported me throughout my life.”

Being a part of a Christian university and a program that cultivates her faith is another huge reason the Bishop sisters chose to call Liberty home.

“Playing softball at Liberty is a great opportunity to grow in your faith with the Lord, while also playing the sport that you love,” said Amber.

Over the years, both Autumn and Amber have played many exciting and adrenaline-filled games. They especially love the ones against top-ranked foes from Power Five conferences, something the Flames are quite accustomed to as they boast incredibly challenging schedules year in and year out.

Both sisters agree, however, that some of their favorite in-game memories are from their narrow loss to eventual national champion UCLA in 2019.

“There was always a passion in everyone when we played top teams like UCLA,” said Autumn. “Coming super close to winning was such a fun feeling.”

Amber added: “We had so many family and friends come out to watch that game. My now-husband was meeting everyone that I grew up with for the first time, and I was finally able to hit some hard balls against some great pitchers who I had struggled with in the past.”

In that game, both sisters combined for three hits off of the UCLA pitching staff.

While their collegiate careers may be on their last lap, both women are grateful for the memories they have made along the way and the people who have helped them get this far.

“I feel so blessed to be able to play with my sister,” Autumn said. “I couldn’t imagine playing without her. She is my biggest fan, toughest competitor and best friend.”

Amber says: “It has truly been a blessing to have played with Autumn my entire life. She pushes me to be better every day. We have definitely been through a lot together in life and I am so glad I have had her by me every step of the way.”

No matter what happens for the remainder of the 2021 season, Autumn and Amber are Flames for life and would encourage any young girls interested in playing at the next level to consider joining the Liberty softball family.

“Liberty softball is not about winning, it’s about being champions,” Autumn said, “and this program will build you into champions on and off the field if you buy into it and respect it.”


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