AATL gets new softball coach

Coming off back-to-back state titles, the Academy at the Lakes Wildcats varsity softball team will have a new face leading the successful program. Wildcats coach Diane Stephenson stepped down after the 2019 season to accept a position closer to her home at St. Petersburg’s Admiral Farragut Academy. A two-time Class 2A Softball Coach of the Year, Stephenson posted a 65-14 mark in three seasons … [Read more...]

Area softball players among best in state

The high school softball season has come and gone, but local athletes are still picking up accolades from their 2019 campaigns. The 2019 Miracle Sports All-State teams were released last month honoring the top players in Florida — and area players were well-represented. Sixteen athletes from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area were recognized, either as first-team, second-team or honorable … [Read more...]

Stephenson steps down

As Lexi Kilfoyl gears up for the college ranks, the Wildcats softball program will take on even more of a new look next season, as Head Coach Diane Stephenson, who was named Florida Dairy Farmers 2019 Class 2A Coach of the Year, steps away from the program to accept a job at St. Petersburg’s Admiral Farragut Academy. Stephenson took over the Wildcats program in 2017 after a lengthy Division I … [Read more...]

Top moments in sports during 2018

Teams captured state titles and local athletes turned in outstanding performances, during a year that brought shining moments and lasting memories. Here are some of the highlights, from across The Laker/Lutz News coverage area: USA Women’s Hockey, fans celebrate gold in Wesley Chapel Just days after celebrating a gold medal win in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, the … [Read more...]

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. Unsurprisingly, the Class 2A state champion, Academy at the Lakes Wildcats, had the most representatives from the … [Read more...]

AATL softball captures first state title

A pitcher’s duel, extra innings and weathering wet, muddy conditions were all needed before Academy at the Lakes softball could finally claim its first-ever state championship. Overcoming hurdles, they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. The Wildcats (26-4) defeated Monticello Aucilla Christian 1-0 in 11 innings on May 22 in the FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association) Class 2A … [Read more...]

Saint Leo coach seeks to ‘win at a high level’

Rick O’ Dette won nearly 500 games coaching baseball in the Midwest — now he’s looking for similar results down south in Pasco County. O’ Dette, who coached at Division II Saint Joseph’s College of Indiana for 17 seasons, was named Saint Leo University’s new baseball coach on June 15. He replaces Saint Leo alumnus Sean O’ Connor, who surprisingly was let go after a 23-26 record in 2017 — his … [Read more...]

Area softball preview

The high school softball season in Florida is underway, and several of the top players — and teams — in the state reside right here in our coverage area. From Land O’ Lakes to Steinbrenner, there’s no shortage of prep softball talent. Some players to watch, as the season progresses:   Pitcher Alexis Kilfoyl, sophomore, Academy at the Lakes: Just a few weeks into the 2017 … [Read more...]

Academy softball player makes national team

Academy at the Lakes’ Alexis Kilfoyl is a softball prodigy, of sorts. She’s been a varsity star since the seventh grade. She was a freshman when she committed to the University of Alabama, which is perennially one of the nation’s top softball programs. As a sophomore, she’s already one of the area’s top pitchers and hitters. Now, she’s among elite company. On Jan. 3, the … [Read more...]

Academy at the Lakes hires new softball coach

The Academy at the Lakes athletics department moved swiftly to hire a new varsity softball coach — one who happens to have decades of Division I collegiate coaching experience. Diane Stephenson was named the new head varsity coach on July 27, just one week after legendary coach Jerry English announced his retirement. Stephenson, who operates the Positive Force Fastpitch Academy in St. … [Read more...]