MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Pitcher of the year: Alexis Adams, Sr., Springstead
Why we picked her: Adams dominated the North Suncoast during the best individual and team season in school history. The powerful right-hander set single-season records in wins (22), strikeouts (227) and shutouts (11). Her top-notch accuracy helped her walk only 18 batters in 186 innings — another school record — while posting a 0.98 ERA. She also led the team with a .419 batting average to help the Eagles finish 23-5 and advance to their first region final. Adams said she’s most proud of her team’s accomplishments, which included two region wins before falling to nationally ranked Eau Gallie in the Class 6A elite eight. “We’ve never done that before,” Adams said.
Most impressive accomplishment: Adams was at her best late in the season when the games mattered most. She hurled a no-hitter against Lecanto in the region semifinals to keep her team’s season alive. But that gem was only the latest masterpiece for Adams. That shutout was her seventh in a row, and five of those other victories were one-hitters. Her scoreless streak reached 55 consecutive innings and included the Eagles’ first region victories since 2002.
Did you know? Adams loves to be outdoors, even when she’s not playing softball. She regularly goes to the beach and also plays beach volleyball. Adams credited her dad for pushing her to practice with him every day in the summer to boost her chances of receiving a college scholarship.
Future plans: Adams is weighing her college options. She’s considering playing softball at Warner University with a close friend before eventually moving on to a Division I program. Adams plans to study physical education with the intention of staying involved in sports as a PE teacher or physical trainer.
Player of the year: Lauren Evans, So., Academy at the Lakes
Why we picked her: Evans was by far the North Suncoast’s top hitter, and it wasn’t even close. Her .652 batting average was almost 100 points better than the next best hitter, Central’s Katie McCarthy. Her 44 RBIs also led the North Suncoast while ranking near the top in all of Tampa Bay. Evans’ .697 on-base percentage helped the Wildcats win their first district title and advance to the Class 2A region finals before falling to Quincy Munroe. “It was just a great moment for our team and our school,” Evans said. Longtime area coach Jerry English said Evans’ athleticism alone was enough to make her one of the best shortstops he’s ever coached, even though her future could be at first base. Evans starred on the mound, too, striking out 61 batters in 43 innings while posting a 0.98 ERA.
Most impressive accomplishment: The 6-foot Evans wants to keep bulking up, but she flashed power this season with nine doubles and nine triples. Two of her four home runs — including a walkoff, ninth-inning blast — came in a pivotal regular-season win against Hernando Christian. Evans also showed discipline at the plate, striking out only three times in 76 plate appearances.
Did you know? Evans spends most of her time playing softball, hanging out with school or club teammates or practicing in her garage. Away from the field, her favorite movie is Bridesmaids. She also enjoys the TV show Teen Wolf and Justin Bieber.
Future plans: Evans has known USF softball coach Ken Eriksen since she played against his daughter as a 10-year-old in Little League. Evans committed to the Bulls at the start of the season but still has two more years of high school. She plans to pursue a career in exercise science or sports medicine.
P Madison Stanilou, Fr., Mitchell: First-team all-SAC pitcher allowed only 12 earned runs and 45 hits in 79.2 innings. Tallied 123 strikeouts.
P Jill McElderry, So., Fivay: Ace allowed only four runs in the district tournament to help Fivay earn its first district championship.
P Sydney Boynton, Jr., Academy at the Lakes: Wildcats’ lead pitcher posted a 1.70 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 70 innings.
P Courtney Riddle, So., Hernando: Recorded a 1.14 ERA while giving up only 85 hits in 116.1 innings. Earned two victories over rival Springstead.
C Jeri Loffler, Sr., Nature Coast: Sharks’ top player batted .523 with four homers while knocking in 27 runs.
INF Amber Maxey, Sr., Gulf: Conference player of the year hit .457 with 25 RBIs. Also posted a 1.33 ERA in 58 innings on the mound.
INF Stephanie Frances, Jr., Sunlake: One of the North Suncoast’s leaders with a .563 average, 34 RBIs and six home runs.
INF Jordan Lane, Jr., Pasco: Led the district runnerup Pirates in average (.455), RBIs (26), home runs (four) and walks (11).
INF Hailey Drawe, Jr., Springstead: Standout at third base hit .396 with 13 extra-base hits during the Eagles’ run to the elite eight.
OF Spencer Valdespino, Sr., Bishop McLaughlin: One of the county’s top all-around athletes hit .500 and three home runs, including a walkoff to push ’Canes to the district title game.
OF Katie McCarthy, Jr., Central: Bears’ star was one of the area’s leaders in average (.564) and RBIs (31) while blasting four home runs.
OF Courtney Durbin, Sr., Sunlake: Ranked among the area’s best with a .533 average and 33 runs scored while stealing 20 bases.
DH Kenzi Maguire, Fr., River Ridge: Young star batted .500 with three home runs and 12 doubles during the Royal Knights’ run to the region final.
UTIL Makenzie Goluba, Fr., River Ridge: Was one of Pasco County’s best hitters (.408 average, 17 RBIs) and pitchers (2.72 ERA, second-team all-conference).
P Ashley McKay, Jr., Hernando Christian
P Emily Pennington, Sr., Pasco
P Vanessa Mills, Sr., Pasco
P Madison Morlan, So., Gulf
C Lizzy Burchfield, Jr., Pasco
INF Morgan Tolle, So., River Ridge
INF Sarah Burchfield, Sr., Pasco
INF Tana McDaniel, So., Hernando
INF Amber Jones, Sr., River Ridge
OF Lydia Kinney, Jr., Mitchell
OF Holly Field, Jr., Hernando Christian
OF Marissa Gochenour, Jr., Zephyrhills
DH Brooke Fischbach, Fr., Springstead
UTIL Megan Lane, Fr., Hernando
Academy at the Lakes: Skyler Boynton; Anclote: Skii Meyers; Bishop McLaughlin: Megan Malone, Andrea Niggebrugge, Brook Baptiste; Central: Kayla Conlon; Fivay: Ashlynn Johnson, Bailea Robinson, Sara Hogan; Gulf: Rachel Gardner, Rachel Emerson; Hernando: Ashley Sims, Destiny Hunter; Hudson: Sarah Hatcher, Tiffany O’Brien; Land O’Lakes: Meghan Sfraga, Katie Maloney; Mitchell: Cassidy Neptune, Cori Williams; Pasco: Kelli Parker, Amber Caudill; Ridgewood: Ashley Squillante; River Ridge: Jada Clemons, Madisyn Palmer, Melissa Moore; Springstead: Louisa Disi, Brittany Martinez, Liz Markidis; Sunlake: Meghan Durbin, Brandi Travis; Wesley Chapel: Laura Bernaldo; Wiregrass Ranch: Ashley Bradford, Rachael Heath; Zephyrhills: Briana Blanyar, Tori Jordan, Lindsey Hupp, Karisten Deem
Coach of the year: Craig Swartout, Springstead.
The longtime Eagles coach helped his team break through this spring. Springstead’s best season in program history featured a 23-5 record and its first trip to the region finals. Swartout juggled talented freshmen with experienced talent to give the Eagles their first region victories since 2002.