Washington's Kelley Lynch Poised For Breakout Year
Kelley Lynch entered her rookie season as a Washington Husky in 2020 with all eyes on her. After all, she had recently been named the National High School Player of the Year in 2019, the Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019 and a World Cup champion with the U.S. junior women's national team in 2019. To boot, she won two state titles in high school and a PGF championship. So, no pressure, right?
Like any freshman, Lynch admits that there were some anxious moments in the beginning of her time on Washington's campus. However, she quickly adapted.
“I think once I got there, there were for sure stressful times, the feeling like you have to perform to this standard or that standard,” Lynch said. “But once I got to school and was surrounded by the girls and practicing every day, it was so much fun, there was so much development going on between our team and the coaches.”
Lynch is a Georgia native, hailing from the city of Newnan about 40 miles outside of Atlanta. Her hometown friend and current Washington freshman teammate Lilly Agan had committed to Washington earlier, and after deciding to go along with her on a trip to campus, Lynch was sold on the Huskies.
“Once I got there, I just couldn’t deny the kind of gravity force,” Lynch said. “I felt like I was being pulled to Washington. This was home for me, and after I visited a couple other places, it was just kind of a no-brainer for me that Washington was where I wanted to go.”
Lynch made an immediate impact during her freshman season for the Huskies, going 4-0 in the circle with 41 strikeouts. At the plate, she crushed eight home runs with 28 RBI in only 24 games played.
Lynch joined an already stacked Washington team that included one of the best pitchers in the nation in Gabbie Plain, a defensive magician in Sis Bates, a veteran catcher in Morganne Flores and about a dozen or so other standouts. Not only are the three previously mentioned players set to return for Washington this coming season, but the Huskies have also brought in Softball America’s No. 8 2020 recruit in the nation in pitcher Sarah Willis.
It is not lost upon Lynch that she is surrounded by incredible talent. She has also spoken about the leadership on her team, from Bates to Flores, and hopes, in time, she will be one of the leaders that everyone on Washington's team looks up to.
“I just feel so blessed that the University of Washington is my home now and I’m a part of the Husky family because not only do we have an amazing group of athletes who clearly perform on the field, but just to know them on a personal level—from top to bottom, our whole entire team—I would do anything for those girls.”