Former San Mateo standout Harlee Donovan named NAIA national softball player of the year

Following a standout two-year career at College of San Mateo, Half Moon Bay native Harlee Donovan continued her upward ascent at Southern Oregon University, where she earned the 2018 NAIA National Player of the Year award. (Courtesy San Mateo Daily Journal)
Following a standout two-year career at College of San Mateo, Half Moon Bay native Harlee Donovan continued her upward ascent at Southern Oregon University, where she earned the 2018 NAIA National Player of the Year award. (Courtesy San Mateo Daily Journal)

By Nathan Mollat Daily Journal Staff

SAN MATEO - College of San Mateo softball head coach Nicole Borg said Harlee Donovan’s ascent to one of the nation’s best softball players occurred at the end of last season when Donovan’s Southern Oregon University Raiders were beaten by Oklahoma City University in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) World Series.

Borg said Donovan got a firsthand look at 2017 NAIA Player of the Year Kali Pugh — who happened to be on the Palomar College team that beat Donovan and the CSM Bulldogs in the 2015 California Community College Athletic Association final four.

“For Harlee, it was very enlightening for her to see someone at her level excel at a school,” Borg said. “I think I can be that person.’ I remember her saying that to me last year.

“She literally said, ‘I can do that. I can be that person.’ And she did. She set her mind to something and she accomplished it.”

While Donovan and her Southern Oregon teammates were returning to the West Coast following the Raiders’ heartbreaking loss in the NAIA World Series, it was announced that Donovan was named the NAIA National Player of the Year.

“It’s amazing,” Borg said. I’m so excited for her. I’m just proud of everything she’s accomplished. It’s really cool to watch.”

Ever since her senior year of high school at Half Moon Bay, Donovan has simply gotten better and better. This year, her senior season, Donovan batted .447 with 80 hits, 49 runs scored, 31 extra-base hits with 12 home runs, 77 RBIs and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of an eye-popping 1.364.

Over her two-year career with Southern Oregon, which is located in Ashland, Oregon, Donovan averaged a .372 batting average, with 11.5 home runs and 70 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.209.

This on the heels of a stellar career at CSM, where she set the all-time career home run mark of 38 and captured the California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association Northern California Player of the Year award following her sophomore season in 2016.

“She’s probably going to hold that home run record at CSM for a long time,” Borg said.

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