Academy at the Lakes leads area on All-State picks

With the high school softball season complete, the 2018 Miracle Sports All-State teams were released June 15, recognizing Florida’s top players.

Nineteen athletes from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area were recognized, either as first-team, second-team or honorable mention.

The Academy at the Lakes varsity softball team had six representatives on the 2018 Miracle Sports All-State team. The Wildcats won the Class 2A state championship last month. (Courtesy of Academy at the Lakes softball)

Unsurprisingly, the Class 2A state champion, Academy at the Lakes Wildcats, had the most representatives from the area among all classifications, with a total of six selections in Class 2A.

Further, Wildcats head coach Diane Stephenson, freshman shortstop Brooke Blankenship and junior pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl earned Class 2A Coach of the Year, Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year honors, respectively.

Last month, the Wildcats (26-4) claimed its first-ever state title, defeating Monticello Aucilla Christian 1-0 in 11 innings on May 22 in the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 2A state finals at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach.

Along with Stephenson, a former longtime Division I softball coach, Blankenship and Kilfoyl proved integral to the Wildcats success all season.

Blankenship, a Florida State University commit, batted .467 and led the team in home runs (six), doubles (12), hits (42) and runs scored (41). Defensively, she posted a .940 fielding percentage and committed just two errors the entire season.

In the state title game, Blankenship plated the winning run on a two-out single in the 11th inning.

Meantime, Kilfoyl was a force both in the circle and at the plate.

The 2017-2018 Gatorade Florida Softball Player of the Year and University of Alabama commit went 23-1, posting a 0.32 earned run average and 249 strikeouts in 154 innings pitched, with opposing batters hitting a mere .097 against her.

As a hitter, Kilfoyl led the Wildcats in batting average (.482) and RBIs (35), along with five home runs, nine doubles and 41 hits.

Kilfoyl pitched a complete game shutout in the state title game and singled in the game-winning run (scored by Blankenship).

Wildcats freshman infielder Devyne Davis joins Blankenship and Kilfoyl as first-team selections, while eighth-grade catcher Hannah Church, freshman infielder Vanessa Alexander and seventh-grade outfielder Caitlin Blankenship were second-team choices.

Land O’ Lakes High junior Callie Turner was named 2018 Miracle Sports’ Class 6A Player of the Year as well as Pitcher of the Year — an award she also won in 2017. (Courtesy of Land O’ Lakes softball)

Academy at the Lakes wasn’t the only Land O’ Lakes-based school well-represented on the All-State team, however.

In Class 6A, Land O’ Lakes High junior Callie Turner picked up both Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year honors.

Turner, a University of Tennessee commit, went 17-6, posting a 0.78 earned run average and 252 strikeouts in 153.1 innings pitched. She tallied 20 complete games, including one no-hitter and six shutouts.

Also a solid hitter, Turner batted .309 and six RBIs in 65 plate appearances.

Turner— also the Class 6A Pitcher of the Year in 2017 — was joined on the first-team by Ashley Smith, a senior infielder for the Gators (25-7), which finished state runner-up, falling to Plantation American Heritage 5-1 in the Class 6A state championship game on May 24.

In Class 7A, Sunlake High outfielders Kendra Falby, a freshman, and Paige Maseda, a junior, were named to the second-team, while senior catcher Emma Sica was an honorable mention.

The Seahawks (23-3) lost to Braden River 4-2 in the Class 7A regional semifinals on May 2.

Other schools in our coverage area also had showings on the All-State list, for their respective classifications.

Cypress Creek, a first-year program in Class 5A that finished 15-9, had four representatives — junior infielder Payton Hudson (first-team), junior catcher Neely Peterson (second-team), junior shortstop Jasmine Jackson (honorable mention) and sophomore first baseman Anna Margetis (honorable mention).

Gaither (7A), Pasco (6A), Steinbrenner (8A) and Zephyrhills (6A) each had one selection apiece.

There were no All-State representatives in our coverage area from Classes 9A, 4A, 3A or 1A.

2018 Miracle Sports All-State
Class 8A
Megan Pierro, Steinbrenner, senior (second-team)

Class 7A
Katelyn Richards, Gaither, senior (second-team)

Kendra Falby, Sunlake, freshman (second-team)

Paige Maseda, Sunlake, junior (second-team)

Emma Sica, Sunlake, senior (honorable mention)

Class 6A
Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year: Callie Turner, Land O’ Lakes, junior (first-team)

Ashley Smith, Land O’ Lakes, senior (first-team)

April Lorton, Zephyrhills, junior (first-team)

Kacie Huber, Pasco, senior (honorable mention)

Class 5A
Payton Hudson, Cypress Creek, junior (first-team)

Neely Peterson, Cypress Creek, junior (second-team)

Jasmine Jackson, Cypress Creek, junior (honorable mention)

Anna Margetis, Cypress Creek, junior (honorable mention)

Class 2A
Coach of the Year: Diane Stephenson, Academy at the Lakes

Player of the Year: Brooke Blankenship, Academy at the Lakes, freshman (first-team)

Pitcher of the Year: Lexi Kilfoyl, Academy at the Lakes, junior (first-team)

Devyne Davis, Academy at the Lakes, freshman (first-team)

Hannah Church, Academy at the Lakes, eight grade (second-team)

Vanessa Alexander, Academy at the Lakes, freshman (second-team)

Caitlynn Blankenship, Academy at the Lakes, seventh grade (second-team)

Published July 4, 2018

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