John Austin Gee’s senior baseball season at Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School may have been cut short by COVID-19, but not his options to move on to the next level.
Gee signed an athletic/academic scholarship last week to attend LaGrange (GA) College in the fall, choosing the four-year private liberal arts college over several other USA South Conference programs.
“There were a few calls and I visited Huntingdon, but (LaGrange) just felt like home,” Gee said behind the backstop at Centennial Field. “The coaches just took you in. It just felt right.
“I am far enough away from home but not too far that my family can’t come see me play.”
There were other links between the Tiger Shark pitcher and the Panther program.
For starters, Port St. Joe coach Ashley Summerlin played and was part of a national title team for the Division III program.
Second, Summerlin emphasized, is the feeling that while larger than Port St. Joe in population, LaGrange still maintains the small-town feel that appealed to he and Gee.
“They are getting a dedicated kid,” Summerlin said. “He’s a good student and a good human being.
“He is going to come out every day and work hard and not cause any problems.”
Gee, who began this season as the Tiger Shark ace, said things he learned under Summerlin will serve him well at the college level.
“He taught us mental toughness, how to deal with adversity,” Gee said. “You lose and you just get back to work the next day.”
Gee, who carries a 3.85 GPA as high school graduation arrives this week, will pursue a business degree as he continues his pitching career.
But his long-term goal has little to do with baseball and more to do with hedges and a father’s passion for University of Georgia football.
“My dream job would be working at the University of Georgia and with the football program,” Gee said.