The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has greatly impacted sports at all levels including high school softball but there were high school softball games played and outstanding performances last week.
We will honor deserving candidates for at least one more week of the Extra Inning Softball National High School Player of the Week series and, hopefully, it won’t be too long until we’re back doing regular honors!
This week’s Player of the Week reached perfection twice in the circle and narrowly tops a batter who went 14-for-15!
Games are for Sunday, March 8 through Saturday, March 15, 2020…
Extra Inning Softball’s National High School Player of the Week
* What’s better than pitching a perfect game? How about pitching two, which is what Kenzi Lyall, a junior at Alleghany (Sparta, North Carolina) High did last week.
The Appalachian State commit, who plays for the Carolina Cardinals Nationals in travel ball player, only had two games in her season before all games and practices were postponed because of the coronavirus, but what a pair of games she threw.
On March 9th, Kenzi faced 21 batters with 14 K’s while also going 3-for-4 at the plate to help the Trojans win 7-0. Two days later, on March 11th, she threw another perfecto game, this time with eight strikeouts in the 3-0 victory.
In the pair of wins, Kenzi had 22 K’s in 14 innings with a beautiful stat line of no hits, no walks and a 0.00 ERA.
Kelly Weaver, the pitcher’s coach at Alleghany, commented: “"Kenzi had two dominating performances last week. The ability to pitch two perfect games in a row is quite incredible and rare. She is the real deal."
It’s not as if Kenzi hasn’t been in spotlight moments before: in 2018, she was named the MVP of the North Carolina 1A State Championship.
Asked how the perfect games compared to the title game win, Coach Weaver said of her being named the MVP: “That’s sorta hard to beat!”
When I ask if she thought this was Kenzi's biggest highlight she said, " She was named MVP of the NC 1A State Championship game in 2018, so that's sorta hard to beat."
The pitcher herself wouldn’t trade any of the experiences.
“This week was definitely a major accomplishment and a personal high point in my pitching career. It made me feel like all my hard work was paying off. I would have to say that winning the State Championship as a freshman was pretty awesome too.”
Kenzie says she was so focused on pitching, she wasn’t really aware of how dominating she was during the heat of battle.
""I definitely felt in the zone focusing on the execution of each batter,” she recalls. “The first game I never even thought about what was going on, I was just pitching to the best of my ability, giving it all I had each batter. The only thing I thought about when I got deep in the count was not to walk someone, but to make them earn it.”
“The second game once again I was just trying to do my best. I had more of an idea that I was throwing a perfect game but I didn't really think about it until later on, in the third inning."
Kenzi stresses her defense behind her was key in not allowing a base runner in either game.
“The closest I came to losing my perfect game was when a girl (in the second game) hit a hard ground ball to shortstop, but Abby Hawks came up with an amazing play. I am so thankful to have great teammates to support me and to go all out on every play. I would have not been able to achieve this amazing accomplishment with the support from my team and coaches. I am so grateful to be part of such an amazing team and coaching staff.”
Runner-Up Players of the Week
* It was a week of perfect and near-perfect, which almost never happens for batters but Jersey Silver, a junior shortstop for Berkeley (Moncks Corner, South Carolina) came pretty darn close. How often do you hear of a hitter putting up a .933 batting average (14-for-15). The Presbyterian College commit even a made a game-saving catch to end one game and was named the Tournament MVP of the Byrnes High School Invitational in Duncan, South Carolina last week.
* Mak Droddy, a junior catcher with Northside Christian (Crowley, Louisiana), missed a year of high school softball because of a transfer rule but returned without missing a beat as she played two and a half games and batted .833 (5-for-6) with a home run and triple, an intentional walk and two hit-by-pitch to give her an .888 on-base percentage and 2.555 OPS. The Liberty Univ. commit was a 1st Team All-American two years ago as a freshman and this year had not made an error, had a passed ball or allowed a steal in the start of her season.
* Karlyn Pickens, a sophomore pitcher/first baseman at North Buncombe (Weaverville, North Carolina) High, had a strong week at the plate and on the mound as she batted .833 with three home runs and six RBIs while going 2-0 with 27Ks in 12 innings as she didn’t allow a walk or earned run. A three-sport standout who made All-Conference in volleyball and basketball the last two years, she’s hit 70 mph regularly according to her pitching coach Stacey Johnson Whitfield, a former Univ. of South Carolina pitcher. Karlyn hit 10 home runs as a freshman (2019) to earn All-State honors. She had SEC and other offers before the recruiting rule change.
* Kailani Tatro, a freshman at Pinole Valley (Pinole California) High, repeats as a National Runner-up POW after she pitched a pair of five-inning complete games (both run-rule victories) with one being a perfect game in which she struck out 12 of the 15 batters she faced. In the other game, she tossed a one-hitter with 11 K’s in the five innings of work. Kailani also went 4-for-5 with three RBIs to help her cause. The previous week, the 2023 grad went 3-0 with 39 K’s vs just one walk while batting .750 with nine RBIs.
* Marlie Giles, a sophomore catcher/outfielder and utility player for Chilton County (Clanton, Alabama) High went 8-for-20 (.400) with four home runs, two doubles, three walks, five steals, 11 runs scored and 13 RBIs while striking out just once last week. This on the heels of batting .875 (7-for-8) the week before when she smashed three home runs. In 16 games this season, Marlie is hitting .542 with nine home runs in 48 at-bats and has 32 RBIs and 16 steals to also repeat as a National Player of the Week Runner-Up.
* Janae Combs, a freshman at Rancho Buena Vista (Vista, California) has had two huge weeks in a row. This week, she had three home runs with an eye-opening 17 RBIs after batting .462 with two home runs, including a grand slam and 10 RBIs, last week.
* Gabby Coffey, a sophomore catcher/utility player at Prosper (Texas) High, played a pair of district games this week and went 5-for-6 (.833 batting average) with two home runs--one of them a grand slam--two doubles and eight RBIs. For the season she had a .509 batting average with a team-leading 29 hits, 24 RBIs, eight doubles and two triples. Gabby has been verbally committed to play at Mississippi State since the eighth grade and was a member of the Brazil Jr. National Team that competed in last summer's WBSC World Cup in Irvine, California.
* Bailey Grossenbacher, a senior pitcher/infielder at Lemon Bay (Englewood, Florida) High, had a big final two games before the Florida season was suspended as she went 6-for-8 with two home runs, two doubles and a triple. Bailey broke the Lemon Bay school career home run record previously held by Brooke Clements Florida/Florida Gulf Coast. For her eight games played this season Bailey batted .565 with a 1.130 slugging percentage, 15 RBIs, 12 runs scored and six walks. She has signed with Florida International.
Previous 2020 Extra Inning Softball National High School Players of the Week
- Feb. 26, 2020: IF/P Micaela Wark (Reedy, Frisco, Texas)
- Mar. 3, 2020: IF Jayda Coleman (The Colony, Texas)
- 10, 2020: C Maci Bergeron (Notre Dame, Crowley, Louisiana)
How to Submit a Nomination
Each week during the spring and summer high school seasons, Extra Inning Softball honors a National High School Player of the Week (when games are played, that is!) for the preceding Sunday through Saturday. If your games are still being played, please contact us if you or a player you know has a big week.
The honoree will be announced every Tuesday (after this week); the cutoff for submitting the nominations is each Monday at noon EST/9 am PST.
We’re looking for standouts who excelled in the circle, at the plate or in the field so be sure to nominate favorite performance(s) by submitting the following:
- Player Name
- Grad Year (example: Class of 2020 or Senior)
- High school team name with city/state
- Stats for the week (be as detailed as possible!)
- Up-to-date season stats if possible
- Recruiting information if applicable
- Any interesting background on the player
- Action and/or head shots
- If possible, contact info if we’d like more info or quotes
Email info and photos (1-4 as available) by the cutoff of Monday at noon EST/9 am PST to: firstname.lastname@example.org.