As a starting middle infielder for the Evans High School baseball team the past three years, Jon Lee's talent was hard to overlook.
Former Evans High School second baseman Jon Lee tags out courtesy runner Travis Stokes in a may game. Lee now plays for Gordon College in Barnesville, Ga.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Yet, that is exactly what happened.
Lee, a 2002 Evans graduate, is now at Gordon College, and will play baseball for the Highlanders, a junior college squad from Barnesville, Ga.
The fact that Lee will play college ball is no surprise - the real shocker is that the right-handed slugger is still trying to secure an athletic scholarship.
"The other coaches in the region would ask me, 'Where's Lee going?" When I told them he didn't have any offers, they couldn't believe it," Evans baseball coach Ricky Beale said. "It was hard to believe on my part. I was really surprised nobody was willing to give him an opportunity."
Lee was one of the top prep power hitters in Columbia County. Defensively, he flagged down most anything that came his way at second base, and was good enough to make the All-Region 4-AAAAA team the past two years.
He also was a standout middle linebacker for the Knights, and the stocky Lee looked the part of gridiron warrior. Unfortunately, college baseball recruiters didn't see him as a prospect.
"Physically, he looks like a football player, or a first baseman or third baseman," Beale said. "College coaches were looking for a prototypical middle infielder who could steal 30 to 40 bases. Jon's not going to do that, but he makes up for it in other areas."
Lee expects to play infield for the Highlanders, but he may move to third base. Over the summer, Lee played AAU baseball with the Martinez-Evans Barons, and displayed his penchant for power-hitting.
Still, he's more interested in seeing Gordon win games next spring than he is in watching home runs fly out of the park.
"They didn't have a good season last year, but this year is going to be different," Lee said. "They have a new coach, and he seems to know what he's doing. I think we'll have a good season."
After two seasons with the Highlanders, Lee expects to move on to a four-year college, and he isn't ruling out the possibility of being drafted.
This diamond in the rough may have found a place where he'll finally be noticed.
"Junior college is the best route for Jon. He'll be able to showcase his abilities a little bit more," Beale said. "He wants to prove something to the teams that wouldn't give him a chance, and I think he'll work hard to do that."
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