BLUFFTON, S.C. (WTOC) - May River’s Kylee Gleason had barely wiped the sleep from her eyes when she found out about her big win.
“I was just sleeping, normal day,” Gleason remembers. “My parents woke me up at 8:00, brought the dog in my room, and said,' You won! You’re the Gatorade Player of the Year!' I was just so excited.”
The South Carolina signee is the first Gatorade Player of the Year in any sport at May River. Gleason batted .762 in the seven games before her senior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During her full junior season in 2019, Gleason hit .638 with 43 hits, 21 RBI, and 36 stolen bases.
Now she’s a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year, which will be announced in June.
Gleason says she’s humbled to join the list of past Gatorade Players of the Year.
“I’m just so honored to be put on that list because I know all of those amazing ballplayers and what they’ve done for all their sports and what they’ve done. I’m a part of that now,” Gleason says. "It honestly just motivates me to work harder and to keep my name going and to just keep bringing a change to the sport.”
Gleason says winning this award takes away some of the sting of losing her senior season to the pandemic, and hopes it inspires the team’s younger players and other girls in the area.
“Our program is all about giving back and that’s really important for us. We were always helping each other out and staying after practice to help the younger players,” Gleason says. “I hope this inspires girls to stay on the right track and know that if they continue to work hard, they can accomplish their dreams.”
Gleason says she’ll start her travel ball season soon, then it’s off to Columbia to join the Gamecocks.