OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – There are few experiences in an athlete’s career as exhilarating as hearing your name be called on draft day. On Monday, Ole Miss pitcher Kaitlin Lee was able to live out this dream, being selected in the 2018 National Pro Fastpitch Draft by the Aussie Spirit.
“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Lee. “It’s super humbling and incredibly exciting. I wasn’t looking forward to my senior year ending so now it’s just awesome to have another season to look forward to.”
The first selection in the fourth round, Lee becomes just the second player in program history to be drafted in the NPF, joining Rebel great RT Cantillo, a draftee in 2014.
“This is a proud papa moment for me right now,” said head coach Mike Smith. “This is my first professional player so Kaitlin will always be part of those teams of firsts. I’m really excited for her. She’s demonstrated a lot of hard work, determination and grit to get here. She’s just a hard-nosed player and that kid deserves everything she’s getting right now.”
In two short years Lee has cemented herself as one of the greatest players in program history, laying claim to six single-season school records set in 2017, including wins, complete games, shutouts, innings pitched, appearances and starts.
A former junior college player at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC, Lee rose to national fame during her senior season as she threw every single pitch of Ole Miss’ magical run to the 2017 SEC Tournament Championship Game, earning tournament MVP honors. Lee would go on to throw three-straight complete games in the Oxford Regional to lead the Rebels to its first-ever NCAA Super Regional.
Once her Rebel career concludes, Lee will become a member of one of the NPF’s newest members.
The Aussie Spirit is operated by Softball Australia, the nation’s governing body for the sport of softball. The Aussie Spirit will be based in the Midwest and will compete at locations throughout the region. Those locations will include Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
“To be able to experience being a professional now once her collegiate career is over with, that’s a pretty special thing for her,” Smith concluded. “We’ve had some conversations about that and I’m just glad that she’s being given an opportunity to play at the next level. I couldn’t be more thrilled, it’s pretty neat.”