EXTRA INNING SOFTBALL’S CO-NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Lexi Kilfoyl (Academy at the Lakes, Land O’Lakes, Florida )
Pitcher Alexis “Lexi” Kilfoyl, the Alabama-committed junior, has already tasted success on the international level as she was invited to be a member of the USA Softball Jr. National Team following her sophomore year, making her the youngest ever chosen for that team.
But this week, the 6-foot-2 pitcher made sure to create some high school memories she and her Wildcats’ teammates will never forget as she was the pitching AND hitting star Tuesday in Vero Beach in a thrilling 1-0 win over Aucilla Christian (Monticello, Florida) that took 11 innings to decide in the final of the Florida Class 2A State Championship.
In a rain-soaked final that had to be stopped six times to have the field manicured, Kilfoyl and opposing pitcher Elizabeth Hightower, a senior signed with Florida, went toe-to-toe in dominating opposing batters as each scattered four hits with Kilfoyl striking out 13 and allowing just one walk and Hightower recording 15 K’s while walking two.
Aucilla Christian threatened in the eighth when it put runners on first and second with two outs and a sharply hit ball looked to potentially end the game, but outstanding defensive shortstop Brooke Blankenship, a Florida State-commit, snared the ball in what Kilfoyl said “was really when my heart rate got started! That ball was a line drive to Brooke and it’s game over if it got past her.”
The two All-American candidates for the Wildcats were then instrumental offensively when, with two outs in the top of the 11th, Blankenship hit a flair that fell in for a single followed by Kilfoyl driving the ball to centerfield that had both sides holding their collective breaths.
“When I hit it, I didn’t expect much out of it,” the right-hander admitted. “I saw the centerfielder dive for it and it went past her and had just enough energy to allow Brooke to come all the way home from first.”
Aucilla Christian went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning and Academy at the Lake celebrated its first-ever softball state championship.