The Tampa Bay area had a banner year in baseball and softball, winning a combined five state titles.
That success was reflected in postseason awards.
Plant City’s Parker Messick and Academy at the Lakes’ Lexi Kilfoyl were named the Florida Dairy Farmers’ Mr. Baseball and Miss Softball, respectively, as the state’s top players in their sport.
It is the first time locals swept both categories in the same season since 2001 when Seminole’s Casey Kotchman and Sickles’ Julie Henneke both won.
Messick, a senior, had a monster season. He was 11-1 with a 1.06 ERA in 86 innings pitched. In the final two games he pitched, he allowed only four hits in 14 innings and did not allow a run.
When Messick wasn’t pitching, he played first base and anchored the middle of the lineup. He hit .319 with nine doubles, 18 RBIs and two home runs.
He is committed to Florida State and is currently on campus for orientation. Mitchell’s Jackson Miller, a junior, came in second in Mr. Baseball voting.
Plant City coach Mike Fryrear was named Coach of the Year. The Raiders won the school’s first state baseball championship. Prior to this season, the Raiders had not won a district championship since 1968. They had a school record 30 wins and defeated cross town rival Strawberry Crest for the championship.
Plant City was 16-7 last season and did not advance past the district tournament.
Kilfoyl continued her impressive collection of postseason awards. Two weeks after becoming the area’s first two-time winner of the Gatorade state softball player of the year award, the Academy at the Lakes ace made history again with her Florida Dairy Farmers selection.
The Alabama signee is the first area player to twice be named Miss Softball and just the second ever from the state, joining Port Orange Spruce Creek’s Kelsi Dunne (2006-07). Four other locals won the award once — East Bay’s Monica Triner (1995), Sickles’ Henneke (2001), Bloomingdale’s Allison Kime (2004) and Palm Harbor University’s Dani Hofer (2005).
Kilfoyl overcame a shoulder injury this season and went 12-1 with a 0.48 ERA and had 134 strikeouts in 72 ⅔ innings. She was just as strong at the plate, hitting .562 with 12 homers and 37 RBIs.
In the 2A state title game, Kilfoyl threw a six-inning no-hitter and finished with 10 strikeouts to help the Wildcats repeat as champions. She also had the winning hit, a solo home run in the first inning of a 11-0 victory over Mount Dora Christian.
Kilfoyl finished her high school career on a 37 ⅔-inning scoreless streak.