Carlee Wallace (above) is congratulated by freshman K.K. Crocker after a walk-off, grand slam homer vs. Mississippi State.
Auburn, Ala.--She is the smallest player on the Auburn softball roster, but time after time since joining the team as a freshman Carlee Wallace has made big plays for the Tigers.
Following her junior year regular season the Southeastern Conference’s coaches voted the undersized catcher as a first team all-conference selection. That greatly pleased Auburn’s head coach, Clint Myers.
“She is another tough kid who wants to be in the lineup, expects to be in the lineup and I am really excited for Carlee getting that honor,” Myers said of a player who helped Auburn win the final regular season series at Alabama playing with seven stitches in her mouth. “She really deserved it this year.”
Heading into the SEC Tournament this week in Knoxville, Tenn., Wallace led the Tigers in hits with 55, extra base hits with 28, runs batted in with 47 and slugging percentage at .641. She is the only catcher in the SEC to rank in the top 15 in all those categories as well as on-base percentage at .482.
Following an opening round bye on Wednesday and a 2-0 victory over Kentucky on Thursday, the Tigers are into the semi-finals where they are scheduled to play LSU at 1 p.m. CDT on Saturday after a rainout on Friday.
If Auburn gets past LSU, a team they defeated in two of three regular season matchups at Auburn, the Tigers will play in the finals at 7 p.m. CDT on Saturday vs. the winner of Ole Miss vs. Alabama. Auburn's semi-final game is scheduled to be telecast on ESPN2. The championship game will be on ESPN.
Wallace, who is officially listed at five-foot-two but is actually not that tall, has an impressive .982 fielding percentage and has thrown out six runners who have tried to steal a base.
“You are talking about a five-foot, little young lady, that nobody really thought much of in the recruiting process,” Myers said of Wallace, who originally committed to play for the AU coach when he was still at Arizona State. When Myers decided to move cross-country to the SEC so did Wallace, who is from Alpine, Calif.
“When I saw her she had more fight in her and more drive because people kept telling her these are things she couldn’t do,” Auburn’s coach said. “She has just kept that mentality all the way through.
“Each year she has been getting better, better and better in having an understanding of what she can do and what she is supposed to do,” he added. “She is now getting some recognition for what she has been able to accomplish.”
Carlee Wallace has proven to be a clutch hitter for the Tigers.
Auburn, the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament behind Florida, is looking to win the league tournament for a third straight year, something that has never previously happened. The Tigers are the highest seed remaining in the league tournament with Florida being upset by Ole Miss on Thursday.