Former Pirates all-American adjusting to rigors of SEC
Lexi Davis admits the transition from high school to college wasn't easy.
Davis, a former star softball player at Porter Ridge High, recently wrapped up her freshman season at Auburn University.
After going 33-1 in the circle and leading the Pirates to the 4A state championship in 2012, Davis finished 9-9 in her first season with the Tigers.
"It was unlike anything you've ever experienced," said Davis of her freshman year. "It's something that's hard to prepare for until you've actually done it. Every player is just as good if not better than you are, so it forces you to rise up to the challenge or get left behind if you don't put in the work. I learned so much and grew as a player, mentally and physically."
Davis was used to overwhelming her opponents in high school, but quickly found it to be much more difficult playing in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
Davis had a 0.23 earned run average with 22 shutouts in her senior season with the Pirates on her way to being named ESPN's National Player of the Year.
In her first season at Auburn, the 6-foot-2 right-hander accumulated a 4.06 ERA in 24 appearances, which included five complete games. Davis had 72 strikeouts in 103 innings of work.
Auburn finished 30-23, including a 7-17 mark in the SEC.
"The biggest adjustment was the talent level and the way I had to play," said Davis. "It's one of those things where it's hard to dominant everyone. You have to learn how to accept failure and loss. It was tough, especially coming from Porter Ridge, where I was used to winning. You just have to figure out ways to make yourself better and adjust what you do to try and fool batters."
Davis had a chance to pitch twice against national powerhouse Tennessee, which was ranked No. 5 in the country at the time.
Davis lost both starts, including a 5-3 decision in Game 1 of the three-game series.
"It was a cool experience just to be able to say you watched those girls on TV when you were younger and then you're playing against them," said Davis. "I threw a pretty good game the first go-around. We had a few errors and they had some bloop hits, so there's nothing you can do about that. I was pretty happy with the way I performed in that series."
Davis, who is currently taking summer classes at Auburn, hopes to use the offseason to get stronger, improve her pitching speed and add some new pitches to her repertoire.
"I want to work on my movement and maybe look at developing some different pitches because you can't throw the same things over and over," she said. "Right now I'm throwing 64-65 (miles per hour) consistently and I want to be in the 67-68 range. I know there's a lot for me to improve on, and that's exciting."