Special To The NCHSAA From ESPN
INDIAN TRAIL— There was one constant during the first softball state title run for Porter Ridge High School.
Lexi Davis was in the circle for all 34 games.
The result: a 33-1 record, a North Carolina High School Athletic Association Class 4-A state championship, and the No. 2 spot in the final POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings.
For her performances as a pitcher and as a batter, the Auburn University recruit has been selected the ESPNHS National Softball Player of the Year. Players from the handful of states that conduct softball as a fall sport were not considered for the award.
“That’s awesome,” Davis said when informed of her selection. “Our team felt we had some unfinished business this season and we really bonded together to close the deal with the school’s first state title. This is icing on the cake and I’m very grateful.”
The 6-foot-1 right-handed pitcher has been a dominant player for four seasons, but the Pirates couldn’t pocket a state crown until this year. Last spring, they lost in the state playoffs to eventual champion Alexander Central. This spring, they avenged the state quarterfinal loss with a 1-0 win over an Alexander Central team that was ranked No. 6 in the final FAB 50 and was led by two-time state player of the year Chelsea Wilkinson.
“That win was the first of two straight games which were keys to our season,” Davis said. “The next playoff game was our only loss (4-1 to North Davidson) and was our wake-up call that we had to stay focused to achieve our main goal of a state title.”
The Pirates rebounded from their only loss of the season in the best-of-three semifinal series with wins of 2-1 and 1-0 over North Davidson before posting two 2-0 wins over Holly Springs in the state championship series.
Davis and her teammates played nine playoff games in 22 days with wins over teams ranked No. 1, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 in the final regular-season state poll. Porter Ridge was ranked No. 2 behind defending champion Alexander Central.
The National Player of the Year ended the season with a 33-1 record, 22 shutouts and a 0.23 ERA. The three-time all-state choice and Gatorade State Player of the Year as a senior also led her team at the plate. She hit .450 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs. She was one of only two seniors — along with shortstop Haley Secrest — in the underclass-dominated lineup.
“Our team has had some tough losses the last couple of years,” Davis said. “We were sort of on a mission to go the distance this year and get the state title. It was the result of a lot of hard work by our team as we improved and grew together. I wouldn’t change anything that’s happened to us this season.”
The softball diamond isn’t the only place Davis excels. She maintained a 3.89 GPA in the classroom and plans to major in pre-medicine, specializing in biomedical science, at Auburn.