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Who is The Press Softball Player of the Year?
THE PRESS SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR | BRIANNA BAILEY

Who is The Press Softball Player of the Year?

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St. Joe vs Egg Harbor Township

St. Joseph Academy’s Brianna Bailey makes the out on Egg Harbor Township’s Haley Korsak during their game on May 19 in Hammonton. Bailey will attend Iona College on an NCAA Division I softball scholarship.

Ocean City vs. St. Joseph Academy softball

Just for fun, coach Les Olson of the St. Joseph Academy softball team sometimes tried to spark some emotion from standout shortstop Brianna Bailey this season.

Bailey always stayed steady. Her temperament is ideal for softball.

“The game of softball you’re going to fail. Things are going to happen,” Bailey said. “You just have to move past it and the get the next play, the next at-bat. You really can’t have a lot of emotion playing the game or that’s going to take over and you’re going to break down.”

Bailey led the Wildcats to the South Jersey Non-Public B championship. The Millville resident batted .480 with 23 RBIs, 50 runs scored and five home runs. Bailey is The Press Softball Player of the Year.

“She’s so calm and so confident at the plate,” Olson said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the first pitch of the at-bat or the seventh or eighth pitch of the at-bat. The situation never bothers her. You know she’s going to hit the ball hard somewhere.”

Bailey said what she remembers most about the season was the Wildcats’ 2-1 win at Egg Harbor Township on May 3 and St. Joe’s 7-0 victory over Gill St. Bernard in the South Jersey Non-Public B title game June 14.

“It meant a lot,” she said of winning the South Jersey title. “We worked so hard for it. Everyone had a job and everyone executed it very well. Everyone was focused the whole time. Everyone was worrying about helping the team out.”

Bailey, 18, said she started playing softball as soon as she could swing a bat and throw a ball. She played her freshman and sophomore seasons at Wildwood Catholic before transferring to St. Joe as a junior. She will continue her softball career at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, on an NCAA Division I scholarship.

“I can’t wait,” she said of college. “I really loved the campus. It felt like home almost.”

Team and Coach of the Year

St. Joseph Academy faced plenty of uncertainty before the 2020-21 school year.

The pandemic canceled the 2020 season. Financial troubles threatened to close the school.

Olson navigated the Wildcats through these troubles. With just 12 players, St. Joe finished 27-3 and won the South Jersey Non-Public B title. St. Joe is The Press Softball Team of the Year and Olson is The Press Softball Coach of the Year.

“Twelve months ago we didn’t have a school. We didn’t even basically have a team,” Olson said. “Who knew at that point what was going to happen in the fall? Just the way they battled and work together to put the season together. All the seniors, it’s a credit to them for leading this team to where we’re at with just 12 girls.”

Bailey said Olson makes sure the Wildcats are motivated for each practice and game.

“He makes it fun, but he makes it strict at the same time,” Bailey said. “You want to keep going. You want to keep practicing. He’s just a really great coach. You want to play for him.”

Contact: 609-272-7185

MMcGarry@PressofAC

Twitter @ACPressMcGarry

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