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With schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the high school sports season suspended, seniors who play spring sports are missing out on their final athletic opportunities. With that in mind, each week during the spring the Shore Sports Network will feature a senior athlete who would normally be making headlines on the field, diamond, track, golf course, tennis court or volleyball court. Each athlete will receive a $25 Jersey Mike’s gift card as the iconic Jersey Shore business continues its support of Shore Conference athletics.

Photo provided by Kailee Howard. Artwork by Steve Meyer/Townsquare Media NJ

Name: Kailee Howard

School: Lacey Township High School

Spring Sport: Softball

Position: Catcher

Bio: A first-team All-State selection by NJ.com, Howard was nearly impossible to set down while at the plate and was retired just 11 times during a phenomenal junior season. An on-base machine, Howard had a ridiculous .718 batting average and added 24 walks while also belting 14 home runs and driving in 43 runs. Behind the plate, Howard was a flawless defensive catcher with a perfect fielding percentage and a threat to keep runners at bay on the basepaths.

Other sports: Volleyball

College plans: Signed to play D1 softball at Rutgers

How are you staying in shape/practicing your sport: I have my workout for college softball so I have been doing that every day of the week. I get outside to hit when I can and practice on the tee in my basement every day. 

Hardest part of being out of school/sports:  I have no routine. I feel so lost without softball because I always play it all year round no matter what season it is. It is such a weird feeling not playing the sport I love.

One positive that has come from having to stay home: I have had time to really think about how I need to make the most of every day. I took softball for granted and now that I am not playing it I have realized that I need to make the most of every single day I get to play it.

Favorite stay-at-home activity: Going outside and enjoying the warm weather.

Coach's corner: "Kailee is an extraordinary talent and a key player for us both in the field and at the plate. She has an amazing ability to make everything she does look so effortless, whether she is throwing someone out at second or crushing home runs. She puts in hours of training to accompany her natural athletic talents. I’ve known Kailee since her freshman year of high school. She is so down to earth, funny and hard-working. I remember midway through her freshman year she injured her ankle during one of our games. She remained one of the most positive people on the team, cheering her teammates on from the bench, offering batting advice and making everyone laugh. I have been able to witness Lacey softball history watching Kailee play. It has been an absolute pleasure to watch Kailee play these past four years and I can’t wait to watch her play for Rutgers University." - Christina Pollino, Lacey head softball coach.