Academy’s softball team has been powering through the 2017-18 season with 15 wins and only two losses so far this year.
Now, Head Softball Coach Diane Stephenson has her eye on a State Championship title.
Winning this title would mean a second State Championship win in a single school year for Wildcat Athletics. The football team won the FCAPPS State Championship in December.
This season hasn’t been without its challenges.
With no seniors on the team, only eight Upper Division players (most of whom are Freshman), and the rest in Middle Division, walking onto the field against teams made up of only high school students can be intimidating.
“We are always trying to drill into the players that they are only playing for the name on the front of their shirts, not the name on the shirts that they’re looking at,” Coach Stephenson said. “Softball is not a black and white game. It’s all about reacting. It’s an area that we’ve grown in over the years, but still need to continue to grow as our Middle Division kids move on and get into high school and start understanding the game more.”
Despite their youth, however, Coach Stephenson describes the Wildcat softball team as calm and focused thanks to the leadership of 11thGrader Lexi Kilfoyl and all the experienced athletes on the team who play travel ball.
“Lexi really sets the tone to just get it done,” Coach Stephenson explained. “We haven’t been a team that gets rattled, especially considering the youth that we have. The younger kids feed off of the older kids.”
This roster of students are mostly those who have attended Academy at the Lakes since Lower and Middle Division, many of whom have already received Division I scholarship offers and others who likely will in the near future.
· Lexi Kilfoyl – University of Alabama
· Brooke Blankenship – Florida State University
· Devyne Davis – University of South Florida
· Jessica Mott – University of Connecticut
Playing great softball isn’t the only highlight on this team’s resume.
Many of the players continue to make high honors each quarter, something that Coach Stephenson, a Hall of Fame Head Coach from Big 10 Indiana University, values greatly.
“Any athletic program is at its best when strong athletes are strong students and strong students choose to be athletes,” said Head of School Mark Heller. “Coach Stephenson is working today to make this experience have great value in so many areas that will serve these young women for the rest of their lives.”
The future looks bright for the Wildcats. This team will only continue to grow and hone their skills and eventually move on to promising futures.
Follow us through the state tournament in late April and May!