(The following story is reprinted with permission from the Enquirer Journal)
Lexi Davis was the best high school softball player in the nation in 2012, according to ESPN.
Davis, who led Porter Ridge High to the N.C. 4A state championship last month, said she was “completely shocked” when ESPN.com reporter Doug Huff told her she was the network’s national player of the year.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know ESPN had the award,” Davis said. “It was a huge surprise.”
Davis is Union County’s first national player of the year in any sport.
A three-time all-state selection, Davis was named state player of the year, which made her eligible for the national award.
A 6-1 pitcher, Davis went 33-1 as a senior. Her 23 shutouts helped Davis finish with an ERA of 0.23.
Davis has been committed to Auburn since the winter of her sophomore year, so she had no pressure to perform for a scholarship.
What motivated her to have such a successful senior season was last year’s playoff loss to 2011 state champion Alexander Central.
Davis said she put in more hours than ever preparing for her last year of high school softball, and it certainly paid off.
She leaves Porter Ridge as arguably the most highly-decorated athlete in the history of Union County.
“It’s still unbelievable to me, at times, the way we finished. What we’ve accomplished, especially this last year, has been mind boggling. It’s very special to me.”
Winning the first state championship — in any sport — in the school’s seven-year history was a building process.
“Every year we went further in the playoffs, and that prepared us,” Davis said. “Last year our loss at Alexander Central was tough, very tough.
“We found out early on we would be going back to Alexander Central in the playoffs. Knowing that environment, and their field, we prepared mentally and physically. The loss there the year before helped us overcome those conditions and win the game.”
Davis is now gearing up for the next chapter in her life.
She leaves for college on Aug. 10, and classes begin Aug. 16.
“I know nothing can prepare me for college workouts,” Davis said. “I’m going to be a little shell-shocked, I’m sure, but I’ll get used to it quickly.”
In addition to her athletic prowess, Davis is an academic standout.
She plans to major in bio-medical science.
Davis is still deciding which avenue she will take within the medical field.
“Either orthopedic surgery or forensics, maybe medical examination,” Davis said of her career plans. “I have always been fascinated with medical science. The human body is extremely interesting to me. I’ve always watched CSI and that sort of stuff. I know I want to do something medical-based. I’m just not sure yet if it will be with the living or the dead.”