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Lee Will Play For Thundering Herd

Photo Provided Avery Lee signed his letter of intent to continue his academic and athletic careers at Marshall University on Wednesday. On hand for the special occasion were, back row, from left, Park baseball coach Steve Myers, Duwane Taylor (uncle), and Park athletic director Dwaine Rodgers. Front, Lisa Taylor (aunt), Avery Lee, Donna Lee (mother) and Rhonda Purpura (aunt).

WHEELING — Wheeling Park senior shortstop Avery Lee has always believed that if you want something, you have to work for it.

Lee had a dream as a kid to play Division I baseball — he worked toward that dream and now it’s coming true.

On Wednesday, surrounded by friends and family, Lee signed his letter of intent to continue his academic and baseball careers at Marshall University.

“This means everything to me,” Lee said. “I grew up playing baseball since I was 4. To get the opportunity to play Division I baseball is every kid’s dream. I’ve always believed that nothing is given to you. You have to earn everything no matter where you are and I just feel beyond blessed for this opportunity.”

Lee has certainly put in the work.

Even when baseball season was canceled a year ago due to COVID-19, Lee found new ways to prepare for a future at the Division I level.

“I just put my dedication into the weight room,” Lee said. “I went and lifted everyday and tried to get my body right. That’s one thing I never really focused on before. I was always focused on my baseball skills but during that time off I was able to focus on my body, eating healthy and getting my body ready to be a Division I athlete.”

Lee spent his first two seasons at Wheeling Central and led the team to the state tournament as a sophomore after a brilliant campaign that earned him first team all-state honors in Class A.

He finished that breakout season with a .354 average, an on-base percentage of .476 and 20 RBI as the leadoff hitter.

Lee turned in team-high’s with 37 hits, 36 runs, 14 stolen bases, 22 walks, seven doubles and a home run as a sophomore and even led off the state semifinal game with a triple.

Although he will take the field with the Patriots this year, Lee still has fond memories of his time at Wheeling Central.

“People like coach Bo McConnaughy and coach Lance Bibey really meant a lot to me,” Lee said of his Wheeling Central coaches. “Coach Bibey was a great role model in my life in terms of the mental part of sports.”

Along with his coaches, Lee’s mother was also a crucial part of his success on and off the field.

“From going to travel tournaments and giving me support, my mom has been through it all with me,” Lee said.

Lee was thrilled to get the chance to stay close to home and play for an up-and-coming Division I team.

“Basically for me it just made the most sense financially and being close to home,” Lee said. “Their baseball program is really on the come up in terms of the talent they are getting and they have a new 20 million dollar stadium coming in, too. So, the whole environment down there seemed perfect for me.”

Now Lee is hoping to get one more shot at taking the field in a Wheeling Park uniform and with his future plans already decided — he will be ready to simply play ball.

“It’s a burden off my shoulders to get this done,” Lee said of signing his letter of intent. “Knowing that I have my future set for the next couple of years — now I don’t have to worry about that. I can just focus on school and winning a state championship.”

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