Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Hometeam

State-bound softball aces share bond beyond the mound

LAND O’LAKES — In fourth grade, Callie Turner made her pitching debut in a Little League softball game. The opposing pitcher was Alexis Kilfoyl.

The two continued to cross paths on the mound. They talked to each other, discovering they shared more in common than just a position. They liked goofing around and going to the mall.

Still, the biggest bond was softball.

Turner and Kilfoyl became close friends. They take lessons from the same pitching coach. They are roommates during their countless travel ball tournaments in the summer. They offer advice and encouragement to each other.

That camaraderie has helped the high school juniors develop into two of the nation’s top five pitchers in the class of 2019 according to FloSoftball.

Now they will each try to lead their teams to state titles.

Turner, the reigning Tampa Bay Times’ North Suncoast pitcher of the year, won the Class 6A title last season. She is a big reason the Gators are back in the state semifinals for the third straight season.

Kilfoyl has played a pivotal role in Academy at the Lakes’ run to the Class 2A state semifinals, marking the program’s second appearance ever.

“It would be a pretty neat thing to be able to go out and win state titles in the same season,” Kilfoyl said. “It’s something we can talk about years down the road.”

There are more ties that link these pair of aces. Their fathers — Dave Turner and Homer Kilfoyl — both work for Delta Airlines. And they both live in the same Land O’Lakes neighborhood, less than a five-minute car ride apart.

But the two are vastly different, in personality and in pitching styles.

Turner is bubbly and outgoing, something that is noticeable right away. Kilfoyl is more reserved and shy, at least, she says, until you get to know her.

On the mound, Turner relies on angles, using her curveball and riseball to get batters to whiff. Kilfoyl mixes up her velocity, focusing on the dropball, screwball and changeup to mesmerize opponents.

Both can hurl a softball at nearly 70 mph. And their approaches are equally effective.

Turner has racked up more than 200 strikeouts each of the past two seasons. So has Kilfoyl.

“We may seem different in a lot of ways,” Turner said. “But we get along really well.”

At a travel ball tournament in California this past summer, the two went to a trampoline park along with some teammates. The trip was cut short when a teammate injured her ankle, sidelining her for two days.

“We got in a little trouble for going, but not as much as some others,” Kilfoyl said. “Callie and I were both pretty cautious.”

During their summer travels, Turner and Kilfoyl shop at whatever mall they can find.

“It’s pretty fun to be teammates in the summer,” Turner said.

In high school, they have faced each other twice. They split their meetings, Turner winning last year and Kilfoyl this season. Both were 1-0 games that were decided in the final inning.

This past week, the two have gone on Snapchat or sent text messages offering congratulations on reaching the state semifinals. Both are hoping to attend each other’s games.

In two years, they move on to college.

Once again, they will have to face each other on the mound.Turner has committed to Tennessee. Kilfoyl has decided to go to Alabama.

“We’ll always have that connection and try to push each other to become the best, even in college,” Turner said.

State softball semifinals

At Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach (weather permitting)

Class 6A: Land O’Lakes vs. Clay, 2:50 p.m. Saturday

Class 2A: Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian, 11:50 a.m. Monday

Class 3A: Admiral Farragut vs. John Carroll Catholic, 4:50 p.m. Monday

Comments
Coach Earl Garcia high on quarterback IQ of Charlie Dean

Coach Earl Garcia high on quarterback IQ of Charlie Dean

TAMPA — Charlie Dean has settled in at Hillsborough High, a place he says feels like home, with a coach, Earl Garcia, he totally respects.In many ways it feels like a relief.That's because Hillsborough is Dean's third school in three years, the...
Published: 09/19/18
No load too much to bear for close-knit East Bay players

No load too much to bear for close-knit East Bay players

GIBSONTON — The folks in East Bay's football program — from the coaches to the players to the faculty and the parents — are about as tight as a group can be.It's been that way for a long time, dating to the years under former head c...
Published: 09/19/18

Volleyball: PHU continues mastery of St. Petersburg with 3-0 win

ST. PETERSBURG — The much anticipated showdown between Class 8A, District 10 rivals Palm Harbor University and St. Petersburg ended up being a 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 sweep for the Hurricanes. It was the first loss of the season for the Green Devil...
Published: 09/18/18
HomeTeam 15: Volleyball power rankings, Week 5

HomeTeam 15: Volleyball power rankings, Week 5

A look at this week's top teams in Tampa Bay:Elite status1. Plant (12-0)Up next: Thursday at GaitherLast week's spot: No. 1Why they stayed put: If the Panthers thought they might be Class 8A state championship contenders, that was confirmed last week...
Published: 09/18/18
Marreese Speights’ nephew inherits his height, but puts it to use on the gridiron

Marreese Speights’ nephew inherits his height, but puts it to use on the gridiron

ST. PETERSBURG – Percy Speights is ready to battle. With knees slightly bent and elbows instinctively deployed, the 6-foot-4 sophomore stakes out his spot, pushing and pressing until his opponent is no longer a factor.It is hard labor for the d...
Published: 09/18/18
Road warriors truly define Palm Harbor University volleyball players

Road warriors truly define Palm Harbor University volleyball players

PALM HARBOR — The microphone was put away for the day, so Palm Harbor University volleyball coach Dexter Rogers had to shout. Luckily, the intimate crowd at Carwise Middle School was easily within earshot.It was senior night, and the Hurricanes...
Published: 09/18/18
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Rent Montie and Camryn Vogler

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Rent Montie and Camryn Vogler

Our players of the week for the period spanning Sept. 8-14.Rent Montie, ClearwaterMontie is a football junkie. The Clearwater quarterback even has a whiteboard in his room that he uses to diagram plays in his spare time."I eat, sleep and breathe foot...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/18/18

High school scoreboard for Monday, September 17

Monday’s scoreboardBoys swimmingShorecrest 139, St. Petersburg Cath. 29Clearwater Central Cath. 103, Shorecrest 79Clearwater Central Cath. 122, St. Petersburg Cath. 28Lakewood 110, Boca Ciega 64Largo 115, Dunedin 56Girls swimmingShorecrest 137, St. P...
Published: 09/17/18
HomeTeam 15: Football power rankings, Week 5

HomeTeam 15: Football power rankings, Week 5

There were some tight games that included last-minute comebacks, but the results were largely expected this past week. That was a break from the upsets during the first three weeks that caused plenty of shifting in the rankings.Elite status1. Tampa B...
Published: 09/17/18
Sunday Morning Quarterback: It’s like Butter

Sunday Morning Quarterback: It’s like Butter

Some of the highlights from Week 4:Team of the WeekPinellas Park: The Patriots were not tested in their first three games. They outscored opponents 150-0 and all three games were essentially over by halftime. None of that mattered Friday night. Pinel...
Published: 09/16/18