OAKLEAF – Not only did Madyson Davis throw a bucket load of strikeouts against the toughest batting lineups in Florida, she single-handedly made a leaping stab of a near-foul pop up that secured a …
OAKLEAF – Not only did Madyson Davis throw a bucket load of strikeouts against the toughest batting lineups in Florida, she single-handedly made a leaping stab of a near-foul pop up that secured a second championship game for her Oakleaf High Lady Knights softball team.
“All I wanted to do was beat that Lakewood Ranch team so we could go to the final,” said Davis. “Some coaches say pitchers should not go after balls like that, but I know I have to go get balls like that. I remember jumping across the line and making the catch.”
Davis, who ended the season with a 18-2 season record behind 124 strikeouts and a 0.94 earned runs average, is selected as the Clay Today softball Player of the Year for her mound presence for the 2018 Oakleaf season. Davis becomes the second consecutive pitcher for Oakleaf to be named the Clay Today All County player of the year with last year’s winner, Kelsey Sweatt, now at University of South Carolina-Upstate.
“I feel like the pitcher and catcher should be the top two players to lead the team’s defense,” said Davis. “There was a lot of pressure though, but Angela (catcher Angela Agurkis) was so important. A catcher is so important to a pitcher. She sees things with my mechanics and keeps me straight.”
Against Lakewood Ranch in the 8A semifinal, a team that had beaten the Knights earlier in the season in nine innings, Davis ended a dramatic pitcher’s duel with the snag of a flyball on the final out of the day to preserve the 1-0 win for Oakleaf. Davis’ lone regular loss was an 8-4 decision in March to Bartram Trail.
In the championship game against Hagerty, a 1-0 loss, Davis was beset by an odd bounce off third base that allowed the lone run of the day.
“The batter had two strikes on her and I threw her a really nasty curve ball that should have been a curve,” said Davis. “She should have been out and we should have been at bat. I threw a screwball next and she hit it right at the bag (third base). All I was thinking in the dugout is to keep the team pumped up for our at bats.”
With three Clay County teams making it to the Final Four tournaments; Keystone Heights (5A), Clay (6A) and Oakleaf (8A), the abundance of talent spread around the county was quite possibly the best in the history of the county. Clay and Keystone Heights both lost in their semifinals while Oakleaf lost in the 8A championship game.
Behind Davis, the Oakleaf defense and two members of the Clay Today All County first team included third baseman Baylee Goddard and second baseman Rebecca Koskey, both returners to the first team roster. Koskey, a senior, proved her value to the Oakleaf not only with her team-leading 35 runs batted in and four homers off a .449 batting average, but by transitioning from her right field slot to becoming one of the best second baseman in Florida as coach Christina Thompson looked to replace a stellar graduating class of 2017.
“I know I have a good defense behind me,” said Davis. “We lost some really good players, but this year’s squad came together and made the defense just as good. Baylee is probably the hardest batter for me to get out because she is so strong. It’s good for me because I face her and Rebecca and Angela many times during practice and I think it helps me when I face other teams knowing I’ve already faced some of the best batters around.”
Goddard, a junior, was her usual intensely steady defender of the hot corner while her power at bat was evident with a walkoff homer to keep the Knights in the championship hunt at the prestigious Kissimmee Klassic and a third base appearance in the final inning of the state championship game that ended with a groundout with two outs. Goddard’s batting average was a tad lower than 2017 mainly because opposing coaches were well aware of her batting power. Oakleaf’s 1-4 batting lineup; Katie Kistler, Koskey, Goddard and Angela Agurkis formed one of the more formidable set of bats in the country.
Finishing off the infield are shortstop Molly Crawford, a Keystone Heights senior speedster, and first baseman Sydney Lewis of Clay. Crawford was built for speed and created a sense of hurry in opposing defenses with her raw speed to first base on would-be routine ground balls. Crawford had 42 runs batted in with three homers and 17 stolen bases.
Lewis, with 21 runs batted in to lead the Blue Devils, was masterful as a baserunner mover with her bunting prowess (13 successful sacrifice bunts) for coach and dad Matt Lewis, plus her field leadership at first base; six errors in 57 touches with two double plays.
“Sydney’s best game was a three RBI day against Trinity Christian (4A runnerups) that had her nail a squeeze bunt for the third run and the win,” said Matt Lewis. “She was solid at first base with just six errors in 387 opportunities.”
Behind the plate, Oakleaf catcher Angela Agurkis, with a strong .436 batting average with three homers, added to her mystique as a top powerhitter in Florida with some well-place scoring bunts as coach Christina Thompson employed a handful of suicide squeeze bunts for game-winning opportunities. Agurkis, one of the more vocal defensive leaders for the Knights, also had 27 RBIs.
In the outfield, left field belongs to Oakleaf speedster Destiny Pacetti with Keystone Heights’ senior Ashleigh Jennings manning centerfield and Clay freshman Paolo Jorge-Silva showing some prowess from the right field grass not only with her bat but also with her cannon arm. Jorge-Silva, with her .328 batting average and a late flurry of hits in the post season, will be a key player for Clay in 2019. Jorge-Silva had just two errors in 23 touches for an 87 percent fielding percentage.
“Paolo was our newcomer of the year with her first start in the 10th game,” said Lewis. “Her two run single against West Florida (region final win 5-1) put that game out of reach. She was in top three of many offensive categories for us.”
The Clay Today First Team pitcher is Clay High’s Morgan Crutcher, just a sophomore, who time and time throughout the Lady Blue Devils’ playoff run to the Final Four was the catalyst for Clay’s defense. Crutcher struck out 146 batters with her 14 wins and a 1.315 earned runs average.
“Morgan had a nine inning playoff win, 2-1, over Ridgeview in the region semifinal and a 2-1 win in regular season play as two huges games for us plus the win over West Florida,” said Lewis. “In 14 games she did not give up an earned run, but 17 unearned runs were scored. She also had eight shutouts.”
Player of Year
Madi Davis, Pitcher, Junior, Oakleaf
Morgan Crutcher, CHS, Jr. (10-8, 114 Ks, 1.66ERA)
Sydney lewis, CHS, Sr. (.313BA)
Rebecca Koskey, OHS, Sr.
Molly Crawford, Keystone Heights, senior: Shortstop batted .409 for the Indians with 16 doubles, one triple and three homers, 42 RBIs with 23 runs scored and 17 stolen bases; .699 slugging percentage
Baylee Goddard, OHS, Jr. (19 stolen bases)
Destiny Pacetti, OHS, Sr. (.355BA, 18RBIs, 14 of 14 stolen bases)
Ashleigh Jennings, KHHS, Sr. (Leadoff batter for Indians who batted .524, often turning routine groundouts into hits because of her speed, with three doubles, 17 RBIs, 43 runs scored and 40 stolen bases; signed with FAU)
Paolo Jorge Silva, CHS, Fr. (.328BA, 11RBIs, 1 Triple, .913 field percentage)
Angela Agurkis, OHS, Jr. (.436BA, 3HRs, 27RBIs, 12Doubles)
Morgan Kendrick, FIHS, Freshman (151Ks, 1.78ERA, 8-4, .370BA)
Bailey Story, KHHS, Sr. (6 Triples, 34 RBIs, .562BA)Team-best .550 batting average with 19 extra-base hits (12 doubles, six triples, 1 home run), 42 runs batted in with .559 on-base percentage and .798 slugging percentage.
Tiara Peters, FIHS, Sr. (24RBIs, .382BA, 2Hrs)
Skylar Rollins, KHHS, Sr. (.456BA, 16RBIs, 1Triple, 2Doubles, 14 stolen bases)
Marianne McDonald, CHS, Jr. (.373BA, 13RBIs, 8 Doubles, 4 Sac/Bunts, 8 Stolen bases)
Morgan Grimm, FIHS, Sr. (88 percent field percentage, 2 Double plays, 14RBIs)
Carrington Robinson, OPHS, Sr.
Katie Kistler, OHS, So. (.431BA, 17 RBIs, 13 doubles, 29 runs scored, 22 stolen bases in 25 attempts)
Lexi Northway KHHS, Sr. (Hit .511 with three doubles, 10 RBIs, 23 runs scored and 22 stolen bases)
CHS: Haley Stone 3B (8 Doubles), Charlotte Denapoli CF/P (5 Sac. bunts, 2.62ERA, 24Ks)
FIHS: Sammy Dill CF/P (1.12 ERA, 4-0), Maya Littles (.323, 10RBIs, 1HR), Mady Lanoux SS (.471BA, 3HRs, 13RBIs, 5Errors in 50 touches, 2 Double Plays)
RHS: Sarah Anderson 3B (.333BA), Raven Little 1B, Brittany Michael P (106K, 11-2-0), Brooke Michael C, Hannah Foster SS
OHS: Madison Mifsud (.303BA), Cambria Arturo P (7-1-1, 75K, 1-09 ERA);
KHHS: Megan Moncrief P (2.48ERA, 11-4, 28Ks, .310BA)
OPHS: Ramsy Phillips 2B, Addyson Mauldin C (.351BA, 2HRs), Kayla Saunders OF, Jenna Hiers P
MHS: Hunter Padgett 2B, Payton Mahon 1B, Haleigh Wright OF, Emily Stewart OF
SJCDS: Bhealor Young INF (22RBIs), Maddie Wilkes SS (4HRs, .531BA), Brianna Enter P (8-3-1, 97Ks, 1.89 ERA, 21RBIs, .511BA), Natalia Burnsed 1B (27RBIs, .405BA), Linsey Arnett C (.452BA)