Worth County’s Kimmy Lee, who was 23-for-23 in stolen base attempts during her senior season, sits between her parents, Gail and Melvin Lee, as she commits to play softball for Tallahassee Community College on Tuesday.
SYLVESTER — During the 2011 high school softball season, try as they might, there wasn’t a single team that could slow down Worth County speedster Kimmy Lee.
But somehow, Tallahassee Community College did.
Lee, who was 23-for-23 on stolen-base attempts her senior season, signed with the North Florida junior college Tuesday, saying it was with the Lady Eagles she felt most at home.
“When I went for my tryout and I walked on the field for the first time, all (the current players) really seemed to take to me and it felt like a family out there — just like the one I had at Worth,” said Lee, a shortstop who also had interest from Valdosta State, ABAC, GSW and Thomas University. “I knew it was the place for me.”
Lee said the Lady Eagles’ coaches told her that she will be asked to compete for the starting job right away as a freshman for TCC’s tradtional JUCO powerhouse program, which hardly ever spends a season without being ranked nationally.
“When the coaches told me how they’re ranked in the nation ever year, that also helped sell me,” said Lee of TCC’s program, which went 40-22 last season and has placed more than 30 players on the all-conference team in head coach Patti Townsend’s six years in Tallahassee.
Lee should fit right in.
This past season, she batted .459 and belted 10 home runs. She also drove in 29 runs and scored 52 runs, with 21 extra-base hits, including four triples. And, of course, she batted 1.000 when it came to stolen bases, even claiming that her Worth teammate, catcher Haley Ellis — The Herald’s two-time Player of the Year — only threw her out once during their high school career.
So what’s Lee’s secret?
“I grew up baserunning,” Lee said. “My thing is, if you give me even a slight chance to run — any little detail I can pick up that let’s me know I can make it — I’m going (to run) on you. It’s always been my strong point.”
Worth County head softball coach Suzanne Kluball would agree — and then some.
“Tallahassee’s getting a strong hitter, a leader and someone who is positive to be around and can keep a team together,” Kluball said. “I wouldn’t even say baserunning is her strongest suit because she’s strong everywhere — she hits, she fields, she does it all.”