Bulldogs catcher Lee Ann Spivey can hit almost anything. Just wait and see in 2011.
Ty Cobb, Ted Williams and Joe Jackson all have something in common: All three maintained a single-season batting average higher than .400 at least once. But Flagler Palm Coast High School softball catcher Lee Ann Spivey has done something the others haven’t: She has hit .500 in her first two seasons on the FPC varsity softball team.
But Spivey has only been a softball player since she was in seventh grade. Before that, she played competitive travel baseball for 10 years. Spivey admits that in the beginning, she was completely against switching over to softball.
“I liked baseball, and I thought softball was too girly of a sport,” Spivey said. “My parents were begging me to play softball because I was starting to get older, and they knew that I’d have a future in softball.”
So, in seventh grade, Spivey heeded her parents’ advice and tried out for her first travel team. She made it as a first baseman. However, shortly after joining the team, the starting catcher, Kelsey Donahue who is also a member of the Bulldogs’ softball team, made the switch to pitcher. That opened the door for Spivey to move behind the plate.
Spivey has enjoyed the switch because it gives her more control on the field and forces her to be a leader, even as a younger player.
But the best part of the switch is how it is has helped her bat, Spivey said.
“You always get to see how the ball is being released, and you’re taught how to read pitches, and that has made me a better hitter,” Spivey said.
Spivey is the Bulldogs’ clean-up hitter. In her freshman season, Spivey had 49 hits, 34 RBIs, eight home runs, 15 doubles, five triples and a .551 batting average.
As a sophomore, Spivey hit .532 with 41 hits, 25 RBIs, four home runs, seven doubles and five triples.
Last year, during her sophomore season, Spivey verbally committed to play college ball at the University of South Florida. Despite being a year younger than most high school athletes when they commit, Spivey said she attended a camp at USF in eighth grade and knew then that’s where she wanted to go.
Also during Spivey’s sophomore season, she managed to hit two home runs in one game, one being a grand slam.
Then, against Matanzas High School, Spivey did the unthinkable. During a particular at-bat, Spivey launched a ball out of the park — the longest home run of her career, she recalls. But the base runner left the bag early, making the runner automatically out. Though Spivey was already trotting around the bases, she had to dig back into the batter’s box. On the very next pitch, she creamed the ball out again, technically making it two home runs in one at-bat.
“I was halfway around the bases, and I was in the zone, and I was mad, so I was definitely trying to hit another home run,” Spivey said.
Spivey said her favorite pitch to hit is the screwball, while her weakness is the riseball. As a catcher, she said she loves curveballs because, “You get the most people out on that pitch, especially if you have good spin,” she said, adding that it puts her in good position to gun down base runners.
FPC coach Sarah Poppe said Spivey’s leadership and hitting ability are among some of her assets.
“Lee Ann has great pitch selection, extremely quick hands and great core strength, which allows her to hit with power,” Poppe said.
Name: Lee Ann Spivey
School: Flagler Palm Coast High School
Stat: 12 — number of home runs Spivey has hit in her career.