It may have been just a single season that Alexa Lee spent at Gloucester City High School this past year after transferring from Paul VI in the early part of her senior year, but softball head coach Megan Mason saw all she needed to determine just how special Lee is.
“She could do it all; we didn’t realize just how great of an athlete she was until those first couple practices,” Mason said. “She’s a once-in-a-lifetime player that you feel blessed to get the chance to coach, even if it was just for one season.
“If she had been here all four years, she would’ve shattered every Gloucester High School softball record with the numbers that she put up this season.”
This past season, Lee led the Colonial Conference in runs, RBIs, extra-base hits and home runs, while also ranking high in the state for those similar statistics, all while playing in a season that saw the Lions go 19-6 to win the Colonial Patriot Division.
For that, Lee is South Jersey Sports Weekly’s 2021-’22 Softball Player of the Year.
Moving to a new school — especially during the senior year of high school — can often be tough. But sports provide an obvious outlet for that potential anxiety. For Lee specifically, it also helped that Gloucester High School was her mom’s alma mater and that her new softball coach was one of her mom’s former teammates two decades ago earlier.
“I obviously didn’t really know anyone,” Lee said. “I was nervous pretty much every single day at the beginning of the year, but playing sports really opened me up to the other players and coaches and helped me feel more comfortable.
“I didn’t know Coach Mason personally before I got there,” Lee added, “but she already knew about me as a player from when I was PVI (Paul VI) and my family kind of, and some of the other teachers also knew my mom. So it felt like I was going to school every day with a piece of her with me, just filling in her shoes.”
Lee quickly had an impact after getting to Paul VI four years ago, racking up 27 hits as a freshman before losing her sophomore season due to COVID and then only registering 25 at-bats in her last season with the Eagles. At Gloucester, Lee was eager to both find a spot for herself on the team and get back to playing the game she loves.
“I still had my own things that I had to work on and improve on, but I also wanted to, even though I was new, make sure that I was someone the younger girls could look up to or rely on,” she said. “I had to build up my confidence for a little bit to start the season, because hitting off the tee is so different from live batting.
“ … But what me and my team were able to do this season was a great year; it’s the highlight of my high-school softball career.”
Lee’s senior season ended with a batting average above .500, as she led the team in pretty much every major offensive category. According to Mason, it was evident from just the first couple practices that Lee’s work ethic would make her a major contributor to the team, but just how special the senior ended up being is hard to describe unless someone saw it with their own eyes.
“We moved her around for a bit in the preseason just to find her best spot, but she could’ve started anywhere on the field for us,” Mason said. “She’s just that good. She could do it all: She can hit for average, she can hit for power, she can bunt, she’s aggressive on the base paths …
“We thought she’d be good before the season started, but after those first few practices, we realized just how special an athlete she is.”