Haley Lee's Slugger Status Is Just Getting Going
It seemed like an impossible task. Hit three home runs in one day and you are the single-season home run record holder for Texas A&M softball. But that’s exactly what happened to Haley Lee.
"I remember being so stressed because I was at 22," Lee said. "I only needed three more. I was like, 'There’s no way I’m going to hit three home runs in one day.'"
In the bottom of the fourth inning against Wichita State in the 2021 Norman Regional, Lee hit a line drive three-run homer to pull her team within one run. It’s a moment she will never forget.
"It meant the world to me," she said. "I look at where I was at my freshman year where I only hit two home runs, and it was kind of a struggle for me."
The improvement Lee has made at the plate is substantial from her freshman year when she hit .269 with just two homers and a .344 on-base percentage.
Fast forward to last season—her second full campaign in college softball—and she bolstered a .422 batting average, 25 home runs and got on base over half the time at a .536 clip.
It earned her Softball America second-team All-America honors and SA’s 2021 NCAA Most Improved Player award.
"Looking at the player I was to the player I’ve become, it’s just been a crazy difference—a night and day type of thing," Lee said. "I think my mental approach has definitely helped me a lot. Letting go of past at-bats and not taking them to the next one. That really helps me relax and focus more on what’s next."
Lee’s dedication to the sport started back in elementary school when she knew that she wanted to play Division I softball.
"(In) seventh, eighth grade I was like, 'I can do it, I want to go play college ball,'" Lee said. "I was more of a late developer. I didn’t commit until my sophomore year, but I knew when I was younger that this is what I wanted to do."
Softball has meant everything to Lee and without it, she doesn’t know where she would be today.
"I’m not really sure where else I’d be right now," she said. "I don’t know if I’m in college. Softball means the world to me. It’s been my escape if I just want to get away from everything."
Last season, the Aggies finished 8-16 in the SEC and were bounced from the Norman Regional by Wichita State.
The emergence of Lee’s prolific offensive ability could help her team even more in 2022. But for Lee, she wants to be a better teammate and give others on her team a chance to have success like she's had.
"I want to help share more of my success with others," she said. "A lot of last year it was just me and myself going to the cages and doing my own extra work. I want to bring more people into that with me."
With two seasons of NCAA eligibility left, Lee may have a chance to break the program’s all-time home run record set by Meagan May, who had 69 in her career with the Aggies.