Original Article by Bob Putnam, Times Staff Writer
Diane Stephenson, hired in July as softball coach at Academy of the Lakes, kept hearing about a young pitcher she was about to inherit.
Stephenson knows talent. She spent 16 years as the coach at Indiana University. Last month, she decided to check out her new ace during tryouts for the 2017 USA Softball junior women’s national training team.
Alexis Kilfoyl, a sophomore, was among 24 players competing to join the team. Her pitches arrived at the catcher’s mitt with such impact that they resounded throughout the park.
When a pitcher comes along who wields one of the rarest and most important weapons in the sport — speed — coaches like Stephenson become giddy. They know that when they feature an honest-to-goodness, certified No. 1 pitcher, their team is as good as any.
“Alexis is special,” Stephenson said. “She has great speed and movement on her pitches. She can be overpowering.”
Kilfoyl made the national team, an impressive feat considering 10 of the players selected are in college. She is by far the youngest on the team.