By Ismael Morales |Staff Writer|
Cassidy Lee spent the entire season dominating the competition so it should come as no surprise that she ended it dominating the 2011 Coyote Chronicle Athlete of the Year voting.
The Coyote Chronicle Athlete of the Year is yet another award that Lee has earned over the course of this past softball season.
Lee was voted Coyote Chronicle Athlete of the Week for the week of April 18 for pitching a complete game shut out with four strike outs and zero walks against Cal State East Bay leading her team to a 7-0 win.
Lee was also named to the 2011 Louisville Slugger All-West Region softball team.
Even with all of Lee’s accomplishments she is still a humble girl from Vancouver, Canada. Lee was excited to receive the award but isn’t one to talk about herself and the success.
“I owe it all to my family, coaches and teammates,” said Lee. “Without them, none of this would be possible. I’m just happy for the opportunity that I got, and for Coach Duncan believing in me.”
Lee explained that she didn’t even really like softball when she was younger, but her mom pushed her to play, and basically didn’t let her quit. She explained if it wasn’t for her, she definitely would have quit early on.
The tall lefty is a long way from, being born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, she found a second home in San Bernardino. Along with a home, she found a family; her softball team.
With the softball team only having 13 players, the girls were really close to one another and worked well as a small knit team. Both Coach Tacy Duncan and Lee have explained that it was great having smaller number for playing time but also for bonding and team chemistry.
At the beginning of the season Coach Duncan had the girls do team building exercises along with goals that could prepare the squad for the upcoming team.
some of the things that Lee focused on for her personal goals were: getting ahead of the batter or throwing strike one and also minimizing her walks through out the season.
As for the team goals, they just wanted to prove the other teams wrong. Lee explained that at times, they felt embarrassed after some losses and especially if they got swept, so the mission was to turn around and beat those teams.
The most impressive thing about Lee this past season was how she led the Coyotes softball team to their first ever West Regional II Championship.
She pitched three consecutive complete games to win the West Regional II Championship and send the Yote’s to the Super Regionals.
The first game came against defending champion and host Hawaii where she only gave up two runs with four strike outs leading the team to a 3-2 win.
The last two games were two shutouts with five strike outs and one walk combined verse rival Sonoma State.
The girls had a lot of fun in Hawaii for the tournament but they were there to handle business. They knew if they could get passed the West Regional and Super Regional they would have a sure shot at winning a National Championship.
She also pitched very well in the Super Regionals against the Tritons, but lacked the run support to earn a victory.
Lee finished the season with a 17-10 record posting a team best 2.75 ERA while striking out 124 and only walking 49 in 180 innings. Her 17 wins, 2.75 ERA and 124 strikeouts were a team best.
UC San Diego ended up winning the National Championship for Division II softball and it broke the Coyotes’ hearts, because that should have been them.
Lee came to CSUSB because of the great competition. Since she came to San Bernardino the National Champion has come from the west three out of the past four years.
“I had a choice of going to the East or West coast, but I wanted to face the best of the best,” said Lee.
Lee was part of the best of the best in this year and was an outstanding pitcher through out the entire season. She will graduate in the Fall of 2011 with her degree in Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Lee will head back home to Vancouver in hopes to get a job in sports, preferably with her favorite hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks, which hopefully will have a Stanley Cup trophy waiting.
Lee won the student vote by a land slide as she took over 70 percent of the votes, conducted online at coyotechronicle.net.
It’s not surprising that Lee won, but it is shocking that she won by such a wide margin.
Senior pitcher Josh Pond came in second with 11 percent of the vote. Pond had a stellar season for the Coyotes setting the school’s record in saves and tying the CCAA record with 16 saves.
His success combined with Lee’s dominance in the voting just show how well Lee led the softball team to a historic new high.