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Monday, Jul 06, 2015
Sports Test

Versatile performer

BY Mark Pinson
Highlands Today


Tayla DaSilva has played varsity softball for four years and was an integral part of Sebring placing second in its district tournament and qualifying for the state playoffs.

"Tayla has an incredible work ethic," said Sebring softball coach Joe Sinness. "She came in as a freshman and started a third of our games.

"She was always practicing, taking grounders and looking to improve."

DaSilva, who has signed to play softball at Miami Dade Community College this fall, had the versatility to play shortstop and third base and the Blue Streak sparkplug batted .357, scored 22 runs, had nine RBIs and eight stolen bases.

"Tayla has a strong arm, puts the ball in play and is a tough competitor," Sinness said. "She did whatever it took to help us win games."

For her ability and accomplishments, DaSilva has been selected as the 2013 Highlands Today All-Highlands Softball Player of the Year.

"It's awesome and I'm so shocked to win this award," DaSilva said. "I worked hard to improve every part of my game and I'm looking forward to the competition at the college level."

The team:

Laine Weber-Callahan, senior, Lake Placid: Callahan had a solid season at first base and the Green Dragon senior batted .481 with 15 RBIs.

"Laine loves softball and is a good all-around player, said Lake Placid softball coach Alesia Cheshire. "She was a hard worker, knows the game and was a team captain for three years."

Johntavia Perry, senior, Avon Park: Perry played several positions and pitched for the Red Devils while batting .375 with 11 RBIs.

"Johntavia was a solid player and did what ever we needed her to do," Avon Park softball coach Krystal Lawson said. "She was a team leader and is a great athlete."

Carly Hoffner, senior, Sebring: Hoffner batted .324 with 17 runs scored and had a team-high 25 RBIs for the Blue Streaks. Hoffner was outstanding at first base and has signed to play softball at Ursuline College in Ohio.

"Carly played varsity for four years and her ability to hit the ball is amazing," Sinness said. "She has a great attitude, a hard worker and was a team player."

Anne Weber-Callahan, sophomore, Lake Placid: Callahan batted a sizzling .509 and played an outstanding second base and left field for the Green Dragons.

"Anne has a passion and very strong drive," Cheshire said. "She loves to play softball and is a pleasure to coach."

Kyanna Matta, senior, Avon Park: Matta had the ability to catch or play first base and batted .220 for the Red Devils.

"Kyanna got on base a lot, used her speed to score a bunch of runs and was a team captain," said Lawson.

Hannah Lollis, sophomore, Sebring: Lollis went 9-5 as a pitcher with a 2.70 ERA for the Blue Streaks.

"Hannah dominated the mound when she was pitching," Sinness said. "She is only going to get better."

Taylor Test, senior, Lake Placid: Test was the glue that held the Lake Placid defense together at shortstop and had numerous big hits and drove in key runs for the Green Dragons. Test has signed to play college softball at Ursuline College in Ohio.

"Taylor knows and loves the game of softball," Cheshire said. "She has great versatility and can play any position except pitcher."

Holly Kierce, sophomore, Avon Park: Kierce pitched, played several positions and was a solid contributor for the Red Devils while batting .275.

"Holly is a good pitcher and always had a good attitude and displayed excellent sportsmanship," Cheshire said.

Kara Faircloth, sophomore, Sebring: Faircloth played center field and also a couple of infield positions while batting .300 with 22 runs scored for the Blue Streaks.

"Kara was our most versatile player," Sinness said. "She was solid defensively and did a good job of putting the ball in play."

Breauna Corley, junior, Lake Placid: Corley played several positions on defense and had a potent stick with a .404 batting average for the Green Dragons.

"Breauna was very versatile and had some clutch hits for us," Cheshire said. "I could put her at a number of positions and she was a key player for us."

Niesha Brown, junior, Avon Park: Brown played third base and batted .300 for the Red Devils.

"Niesha is a powerful hitter and came through with some clutch base hits for us during the season," Lawson said.

Alison Hoffner, junior, Sebring: Hoffner played catcher and batted .310 with 15 RBIs and used her strong arm to keep runners at bay.

"Alison swings the bat well and kept other teams from stealing bases with her arm," Sinness said. "She threw out more than half the runners who tried to steal on her."

Courtney Delaney, sophomore, Lake Placid: Delaney batted .477 and had the talent to pitch, catch and play numerous infield positions for the Green Dragons.

"Courtney had the ability to play several positions and really made a positive impact in her first year of varsity softball," Cheshire said.

Brooke Scranton, junior, Avon Park: Scranton was solid at second base and did a great job of advancing runners.

"Brooke improved so much and was a real team player," Lawson said.

Honorable mention:

Chelsea Bassett, junior, Sebring: Bassett batted .343 with 13 RBIs, scored eight runs and did a solid job of pitching for the Blue Streaks.

"Chelsea did a good job on the mound and had a solid season at the plate for us," Sinness said.

Coach of the Year

For guiding the Blue Streaks to second in the district and a state playoff berth Sebring's Joe Sinness has been selected as the Highlands Today All-Highlands Softball Coach of the Year.