Fagans back on the same team
Published: Monday, January 30, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 30, 2012 at 12:22 a.m.
Other than last season, neither Kasey nor Sami Fagan can remember when they were not on the same team.
“Pretty much since we first started, we've been playing together,” said Kasey, a 5-10 University of Florida sophomore. “We tried everything — softball, soccer, swimming, basketball, track, tennis, volleyball — but we always played together.”
Dunnellon's dynamic duo capped their days together by leading the Tigers to back-to-back Class 4A state softball championships in 2009-10, with Kasey earning 2010 Gatorade National Player of the Year honors and Sami, now a 5-9 UF freshman, setting a state record with a 63-game hitting streak that started the year before.
Then came 2011. Kasey, the 2009 Ocala Star-Banner Player of the Year and Class 4A Tournament MVP, started 68 of 69 games at third base for a 56-13 Florida squad that finished second in the nation, while Sami earned the 2011 Florida Gatorade Florida Player of the Year award — the third straight for the family as Kasey won it in 2009 and 2010 — while also earning first-team ESPN Rise All-America honors.
Both, however, felt something — make that someone — was missing.
“One of the reasons I picked this school is because Kasey is going here,” Sami said. “It's just my comfort zone. I enjoy playing with her, and it just makes the game more fun playing with your sister.”
“I've always liked playing with Sami,” Kasey said. “Not only do I get excited for my team because she's good, but I'm also glad for myself because she really pushes me. She helped me get back my work ethic that I had in my high school years, so I'm hitting a lot more and taking a lot more ground balls now.”
That work ethic is something the girls got in addition to their athleticism from parents Kevin and Nancy, who were both standout college athletes at the University of Miami (football and track, respectively). Kevin, who coached his daughters' Dunnellon softball teams, enjoyed a seven-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers.
“They are the two hardest working players on this team, hands down,” UF head coach Tim Walton said. “Pre-practice, post-practice, during practice — they work hard. When you have parents who have played at such at high level as both their parents have, they know what kind of work ethic it takes, and they instill that in their kids.”