Pressure and performance


Photo provided by: Dean Stewart Photography

Senior catcher Kylie Strott leading her team to yet another victory.

Madalyn Propst, Staff Reporter

The 2023 Lady Patriots varsity softball team is breaking records this season, ranking second in the state and number 28 in the nation. The team boasts an impressive record of 19-3 overall and 6-0 with their district. This momentum builds off the back of a previously successful season having placed second in the state during the 21-22 season, and now they are going for the gold.  

The team has an impressive roster with multiple top 20 placings in the Florida 7A class with freshman Lauren Compton holds the title of second in earned run average and junior Gabriella Mike holds not one, but three top 20 placements in earned run average, batters struck out, and wins. On Apr. 25 against University (OC) High School, Mike also reached a major accomplishment of striking out 100 batters this season, which promises a bright future for the softball program and her future in collegiate softball at Duke University. Their biggest forerunner however is UCF commit Kiley Strott who boasts four home runs, a 0.400 on base percentage and reached her third season catching pitchers with over 100 strikeouts in a season. . 

Despite these awe-inspiring statistics on the 2023 season that seemingly come from natural talent,  all of these girls have put in a lot of hard work and dedication to make this year so successful. 

“I am so proud of how well we all work together and support each other no matter the circumstances,” sophomore Aleigh Smith said. “Everyone on this team always gives 100% and doesn’t give up.” 

Getting to the top is easy; staying on top is what is hard. With all of this pressure on the girls, it would be easy to rest on their laurels and fall behind, but the team has taken on every game with a do or die attitude which has garnered their national attention. 

“We really have a target on our back now after last season,” Strott said. “Everyone wants to beat us, so we have to play our best every game.” 

With intense practices almost everyday, the team spends a lot of time with each other on the field. In order to keep up such an impressive winning streak the girls all have to trust each other not only on the field, but off of it as well. It is not a surprise that with such an amazing team, there are some amazing bonds within it. 

“Obviously they show up and put the work in everyday, but during that process this group keeps it light,” coach Jacob Stanley said. “They do a lot of team bonding off the field, it keeps the environment relaxed and keeps them close during a really long season.”