While most organizations and sites have already picked their players of the year I decided to wait and really give it a lot of thought and pick a player who may not be tops in ever stat but really made the most difference on their team.
My pick for College Softball News’ ‘2017 Player of the Year’ is 5′ 6″ spark plug right handed junior pitcher for Ole Miss Kaitlin Lee. Ole Miss and head coach Mike Smith hit the jackpot when they got Lee as a transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
In my opinion no other college softball player had more influence on how their team played this year then Lee. Her mix of talent and team leadership helped to lead Ole Miss to a great season that included them winning their first ever SEC Tournament Championship along with for the first time hosting a Regional Playoff round. Then moving on from it to play in the teams first ever Super Regional round that was played in Los Angeles where they eventually lost 1-0 to host team and 11-time national champions the UCLA Bruins. Pitcher Brittany Finney took the lose in that game. It was the first time since May 6 that someone other than Kaitlin Lee had gotten the start.
Lee ended the 2017 season with a 23-11 record, a 1.82 ERA. with 118 strikeouts while giving up only 37 walks. She threw a impressive 249.2 innings which was by far the most thrown by any SEC pitcher. The next closest pitchers where at 2. Kaylee Carlson-Auburn 206.1 and 3. Alexis Osorio-Alabama 203.0.
Kaitlin Lee was named, Second Team All-SEC, 2017 SEC All-Tournament Team and named 2017 SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player.
I have a great niece that’s only 5 years old but loves to dance who can go on forever. That’s the kind of energy Kaitlin Lee brings to the softball field. If she isn’t in the circle pitching you’ll find her in or near the dugout cheering other team players on.
Kaitlin Lee is the kind of person you can’t help but pull for to succeed with her love of softball that comes through loud and clear anytime you watch her play the game.