Original Article from Extra Inning Softball
Kissimmee, Florida—internationally known as a coveted tourist destination being the home to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World—this weekend plays host to arguably the best high school fastpitch tournament in the country.
Two brackets of strong high school teams are lined up for the 26th Kissimmee Klassic Softball Tournament at Osceola County Softball Complex, which kicks off today and runs through Saturday.
With the Florida district and state battles slated for mid-April, this event has long been a traditional prep for the post-season for Florida teams, and even garners out-of-state participation.
This year’s event is nothing short of stacked, with three entrants coming in a defending state champions in their class, 11 teams currently ranked at the top of their division and four in the nation’s top 30 rankings.
The Klassic divides teams into a Blue and a Gold bracket with the Blue side traditionally being the tougher bracket, but a dozen of the Gold bracketed teams are arguably “Blue” material as well.
Academy at the Lakes
Lakewood Ranch will face tough pitching as they step in against Academy’s Alexis Kilfoyl, who is headed to the Univ. of Alabama and was last week’s MaxPreps/NFCA South Region Player of the Week.
Kilfoyl is leading her 2A squad to a solid year with 120 K’s for the season against tough competition, playing 6A, 7A and 8A schools. She’s the youngest player ever to make the USA Women’s Junior National team and has 713 career strikeouts pitching for Academy at the Lakes, with this season’s ERA hovering at 0.20.
She has been named the top recruit of the 2019 class nationally and has several years of Tampa Bay Times and All State 1st Team selections.
Academy at the Lakes, a small private school making its first-ever Klassic appearance, has put together an outstanding squad and a challenging schedule this year, as it hopes to make a run in the postseason.
The school is so small that it doesn’t even have its own sports fields, although a plan for a robust complex is in the works, yet they consistently field solid teams in several sports.
The softball team is coached by Diane Stephenson, who has coached at the collegiate level at Indiana University, and she has the luxury of fielding a strong defense behind Kilfoyl with two D1 committed freshmen in Devyne Davis (South Florida) and Brooke Blankenship (Florida State), both of whom played on the varsity squad in middle school.
They were recruited young: Davis was among the first 2021s to verbal while still in 8th grade. Blankenship and Davis are in the top 25 in their recruiting class.
Academy fields a young team with no seniors on the roster and two middle schoolers—catcher Hannah Church and utility player Caitlin Blankenship—who are typically in the starting nine.
Both Blankenship and Kilfoyl were 1st Team All State last year.