Wednesday, 21 March 2018 00:02

Jonathan Lee: The Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week

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Jonathan Lee has been named The Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week for his pitching and hitting performance against Pinecrest. Jonathan Lee has been named The Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week for his pitching and hitting performance against Pinecrest. Photo courtesy of Deon Cranford.

ROCKINGHAM – Jonathan Lee, a senior on the Richmond Senior High School baseball team, has been named the Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week presented by McNair Auto Sales.

With an impressive performance on the mound and at the plate during Friday’s second half of a home-and-home series against Pinecrest High School, Lee catapulted the Raiders to a huge Sandhills Athletic Conference win, and those efforts earned him this week’s recognition. 

 Athletic Profile

Name: Jonathan Lee

Age: 18

Year: Senior

Spring Sport: Baseball

Position: Pitcher/Outfielder

Years on Varsity: 3 years

Height & Weight: 6’0”, 185 pounds

Experience: 13 years

RSHS Academics: As a senior, Lee will graduate from Richmond in June. Earlier this school year, he completed his Automotive Mechanics cluster courses. He chose that cluster because he said he knew he could “learn different things” and had a general “interest” in auto mechanics.

Lee has a 2.85 GPA and is taking several classes at Richmond this spring. Currently, he’s taking career management, Spanish II, American History, and helps assistant baseball coach Brad Denson as an intern in weight training.

“My internship is my favorite class because I get a period off from classwork to help Coach Denson,” Lee explained. “It’s relaxing to help out in the weight room and help make schedules for working out.”

RSHS Sports: Lee has only ever played baseball at Richmond, starting out on the junior varsity team as a freshman, and moving up to the varsity level for the last three seasons. His time playing baseball for head coach Ricky Young is an experience he wouldn’t trade for anything.

“It’s been great,” Lee said of playing baseball for the Raiders. “It’s a really good culture here. I like the atmosphere and I’ve got good coaches and teammates.”

Hobbies: Even during his free time, Lee enjoys being around the diamond. Last summer, he played for the 18U showcase baseball team South Charlotte Panthers. With the team, he traveled to several tournaments around the country, including a trip to Florida.

“I also just love working out,” Lee said. “And I like hanging out with my girlfriend Katie.”

Interesting Fact: For his interesting fact, Lee shared that growing up, he enjoyed “spending time on the lake” with his grandpa. He has a lot of really good memories spending time on the water fishing for large stripers at Mars Mountain.

College Aspirations: Back on Nov. 13, 2017, Lee literally inked his future plans, as he signed his National Letter of Intent to play baseball at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He has been recruited as a two-way player, and will help the Braves with pitching and playing the outfield.

In terms of studying, Lee will be majoring in the sports medicine program. He hopes to one day become a strength and conditioning coach, and would also like to coach baseball.

“I chose Pembroke because it’s close to home and it has a great campus,” Lee said. “The (baseball) program and the school are expanding. And the coaches are really good.

“I’m ready to explore,” he added about his upcoming freshman year. “I want to try new things and get the college experience.”

Mentors: Lee chose his aforementioned grandpa, Albert Lee, as his mentor. Not only did the two spend a lot of time fishing together before the elder Lee passed away, but he supported his grandson in a lot of ways.

“He was just a great grandpa,” Lee exclaimed. “He always helped me and did everything he could for me. He taught me a lot and was just a good old country man.”

Athlete of the Week Stats: Lee was an integral part of Richmond’s 8-5 victory over the Patriots of Pinecrest Friday, pulling double duty on the mound and at the plate. The left-hander put in 5.1 innings of work, allowing three earned runs on three hits, while striking out nine batters. From the dish, Lee smoked a 1-2 pitch to center field for a two-out, two-RBI double in the top of the second inning, scoring Garret Richardson and Drew Loving to put Richmond up 3-0.

Lee added a leadoff single to start the top of the sixth inning, and would score two at-bats later when battery mate Gordon Pihl hit a rocket over the left field wall to give Richmond an 8-2 lead.

In the first matchup of the two teams a week ago, a 1-0 Raiders loss, Lee was one of only three batters to get a hit off of UNC-commit Nik Pry. As of Tuesday, Lee is hitting .360, which is the best of all Raiders who have started in all of the team’s first seven games. He also leads the team with nine hits, and seven RBIs, and is tied for first in doubles (2) and home runs (1).

Describe the responsibilities of being a top pitcher and hitter for the Raiders. Explain the thought process each time you’re on the mound or in the box.

“I just keep trying to push myself to be better every time I go out there,” Lee said. “I have a job to do and I go out and try to get it done. I’m focused on doing it for my teammates, parents and girlfriend. When I pitch, I just keep as many guys off base as I can.”

What is your favorite memory as a Raiders baseball player and why? 

“It was a game against Scotland last year,” Lee explained. “They’re our biggest rival and I had a big performance. I had a solo home run and two hits off the fence for a double and a triple. And I came in and finished on the mound.”

Coach’s Corner: Richmond head coach Ricky Young values Lee’s abilities on the mound and at the plate, and credits him for being a big part of the road win at Pinecrest.

“Jonathan pitched really well at Pinecrest,” Young said. “They (Pinecrest) did a really good job of fouling off pitches in the middle innings and elevated his pitch count. So, we had to take him out when he reached his limit. That is a tough place to win, so I was pleased with his performance.

“He also had a couple of big hits in the game for us and drove in a couple of runs,” Young continued. “Jonathan has worked really hard in the offseason to get stronger and into game shape. I am really proud of the maturity he has shown this year. UNCP is getting a really good player when he leaves us.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 00:23

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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