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Thomas sisters excelling for Okeechobee High softball

With her sister Lexi on the base path at third, Okeechobee senior Elle Thomas takes an at-bat in a Class 5A-District 8 semifinal May 3, 2022, at South Fork High School in Stuart. Okeechobee eliminated Suncoast, 11-1. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

STUART – Elle Thomas is excited to embark on the next chapter of her softball career – college ball – but she also wants her final high school season to last as long as possible.

Thomas, a senior four-year varsity player who is headed to Indian River State College, and her sister Lexi, a sophomore, made sure Okeechobee High School’s season wouldn’t end Tuesday afternoon. The Seminole sisters from the Brighton Reservation combined for three hits and three RBIs in a Class 5A-District 8 semifinal as the Brahmans eliminated Suncoast-Riviera Beach, 11-1, in four and a-half innings at South Fork High School in Stuart.

Okeechobee senior Elle Thomas, left, and her sister, sophomore Lexi, have plenty of reasons to smile after they combined for three hits and three RBIs in an 11-1 win against Suncoast in a Class 5A-District 8 semifinal May 3, 2022, at South Fork High School in Stuart. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

“They’ve been doing really well, especially lately. They’ve been doing a great job of doing their job,” said Kelci Breaux, who has guided Okeechobee to a 12-7 record in her first season as head coach after the tribe’s Mary Huff led the team for nearly a decade.

Pitcher Laci Prescott fanned nine in a five-hit complete game victory and Madison Hargraves had two hits and two RBIs.

Okeechobee, the No. 2 seed, will face top seed South Fork in the district final at South Fork High School on May 5 at 7 p.m. The champion automatically qualifies for the regional tournament; the remaining spots are determined by FHSAA power rankings.

The Brahmans started the season 0-2, but have since found their groove. They are 7-2 in their last nine games.

“The beginning was a little rough because we didn’t push together, but now we’re playing as a team,” Lexi said.

“At the beginning we had little miscues, one game it was struggling hitting; one game it was struggling on defense,” Breaux said. “It was just getting those pieces to click together; the last several games we’ve been able to do that.”

Elle started the Brahmans off in the right direction against Suncoast by scoring the game’s first run following a one-out walk in the first inning.  

Suncoast knotted the score at 1-1 in the top of the third before Okeechobee erupted for 10 runs in the bottom of the inning.

Lexi, who already had smacked a hard-hit double earlier in the game, came through with a sharply hit, bases-loaded single past third base that brought in one run to make it 3-1.

A couple of batters later, Elle kept the momentum going by drilling a two-run double to center that gave Okeechobee a 6-1 cushion.

Throughout the season, the sisters have been consistent producers at the plate. They have had hits in nearly every game.

Okeechobee’s Lexi Thomas blasts one of her two hits in the Brahmans’ 11-1 win against Suncoast in a Class 5A-District 8 semifinal May 3, 2022, at South Fork High School in Stuart. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

Elle bats out of the No. 2 spot, where she’s generated 14 hits, nine RBIs and a .333 batting average while scoring a team-high 17 runs. Lexi has produced similar numbers from the lower half of the batting order. She has a .371 batting average with 13 hits and eight RBIs.

In the field, Elle is in her third year as the team’s starting shortstop; Lexi is in her second season as a starting outfielder.

Although both played volleyball last fall, they didn’t play together very often because Lexi was on JV for most of the season. Being starters on varsity softball has afforded them a chance to play together, which they said is usually a good thing.

“It’s been good,” Lexi said. “We bump heads a little bit, but we help each other out. Whenever we mess up, we’ll yell at each other to do better, and then we will.”

“It’s been good and bad – sisters, you know – but mostly good,” Elle said.

They come from an athletic family with deep roots in softball and baseball thanks to their parents Jason and Laverne and older brothers Layton and Layne.  

In August, Elle will head to IRSC in Fort Pierce to study business and start her college softball career. IRSC played a doubleheader on the Brighton Reservation in April, something Elle hopes will happen again next season.

“That would be really cool,” she said.

Editor’s note: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that the teams that reached the district championship game automatically qualify for the regional tournament. The story has been adjusted to reflect that district champions automatically qualify while the remaining seeds are determined by power rankings.

Okeechobee’s Elle Thomas gets ready to take a lead off third base in the Brahmans’ 11-1 win against Suncoast in a Class 5A-District 8 semifinal May 3, 2022, at South Fork High School in Stuart. (Photo Kevin Johnson)
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Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at kevinjohnson@semtribe.com.
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