Over the past three years, junior second baseman Courtney Fee has been plunked 15 times by an opposing pitcher—her mark of six this year leads the conference. Head coach Phil McElroy said this fearless attitude sets her apart.
“A lot of players look at it as ‘I need to get out of the way,’ and I think Courtney sees it as an opportunity to help her team,” McElroy said. “Courtney has a tendency to stand close to the plate, where other players would be standing six inches to a foot further back.”
Fee’s free rides have, in fact, helped her team out this season: Three of the six times she was hit this season resulted in her scoring a run. One of the captain’s two RBIs this season came when she was hit with the bases loaded.
“When I was younger, I would play with how much I could crowd the plate before they would get angry and kind of antagonize a little,” said the writing, literature, and publishing major. “This year especially, I haven’t been crowding the plate.”
Last season, Fee was hit just three times, good for ninth in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference. As a freshman, she was hit six times. Overall this year, the Lions (11-16, 2-12 in conference) have been hit by pitches 16 times total, and seven times in conference, with Fee responsible for three of the NEWMAC hits.
“She gets a lot of inside pitches,” McElroy said. “ A pitcher throws an inside pitch and might not have complete control. Courtney thinks, ‘Don’t protect myself and get on base.’”
For Fee, softball has long been a part of her life; before college, she committed her free time to a travel team.
“I was always kind of a jack, or a Jill, of all trades, so I liked to just try everything, and I grew up in a really athletic family,” said Fee, 21. “My dad played hockey and my mom was a runner, so [softball] was just one of the things I tried, really stuck with, and fell in love with.”
Fee said she has been playing softball since the age of 10 and started on the recreational teams for her town, Port Jefferson, New York. She began playing travel ball for the local Silver Bullets and played every position except pitcher and catcher. She played varsity softball all four years of high school and was named all-division her junior and senior year.
Alexis Ellis-Alvarez, a freshman pitcher and first baseman for the Lions, said she looks up to Fee as a captain and a leader on the team.
“I really admire Courtney’s determination, drive, and leadership ability,” said Ellis-Alvarez, a performing arts major. “She is very aware of what is going on with the batter and plays off of it.”
McElroy said he sees how Fee’s presence helps the overall dynamic of the team.
“A lot of the players look at Courtney as a mom figure,” said McElroy. “A player can go to her with issues on and off the field, and her calmness on-field contributes to the confidence of the younger players.”
Fee said that she likes the pressure and the unique moments of a game.
“I think it’s the moments when you’re in a close game and you have the pressure and the power in a situation to win it for the team,” Fee said. “You can fail or succeed—most of the time you fail—but when you succeed, it’s great.”
Managing editor Anna Buckley, a friend of Fee, did not edit this article.