Following its best season in school history, Ole Miss softball is making the offseason rounds in an eight-game fall schedule. This prelude into the Rebels’ highly anticipated follow-up continues with a visit to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College this afternoon, the former home of Rebel ace Kaitlin Lee.
Lee, a senior from Gulfport, played her first two collegiate seasons with the MGCCC Bulldogs and quickly made a name for herself at the junior college level. Then boasting a 20-4 record and a 1.79 ERA, Lee helped guide the Bulldogs to a ninth-place finish in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in her first season.
The following year, the freshman phenom transitioned to sophomore star, earning honors such as NJCAA Division II All-American and MAJCJ Pitcher of the Year. Lee improved in nearly every statistical category, improving on an already deadly delivery. Her 0.84 ERA was second in the nation, she struck out 138 batters in 167 innings and she even threw a perfect game against Southern Union.
As if she wasn’t feared enough on the mound, Lee added 17 doubles and a highly respectable .369 batting average to her already impressive resume. Following one of the most dominant seasons for a pitcher in Mississippi junior college history, Lee became the first Bulldog to sign a scholarship with an SEC softball team.
Last year, her first with the Rebels, the 5-foot-6-inch wonder captured the national spotlight with a breakout season. Setting school single-season records for complete games (27), shutouts (10), innings pitched (249.2) and starts (37), Lee proved she had what it takes to not only play in the SEC but also to compete nationally at the Division I level. Again, the accolades came pouring in, reaffirming the star’s place on top. From Second Team All-SEC honors to receiving Second Team All-American honors and an SEC Championship MVP award, Lee replicated the success she fostered at MGCCC by growing it even further into an undeniable showcase of talent. The Rebels found yet another junior college diamond in the rough.
Now, more than a year removed from her program-shaking transfer to Ole Miss, Lee will finally meet her old team again today. Whether the reunion is warm and congratulatory or cold and attacking, the result will surely be enjoyable. Knowing Lee, expect plenty of head and a hefty collection of retired MGCCC batters.
Upon the conclusion of the fall season, Ole Miss — led by Lee and fellow seniors Paige McKinney and Alex Schneider, among others — will move into preparation for its regular season in the spring. While expectations are higher than ever for the right-handed pitcher, Lee’s trend of annual improvement shows she will likely once again burst through those expectations and possibly rewrite the record books along the way.