ROCKINGHAM — Once he made his decision over the weekend, Jonathan Lee became the fourth Richmond Senior athlete to announce a verbal commitment this summer.
Lee, a baseball standout, joins softball players Owen Bowers (Florida SouthWestern), Savannah Lampley (UNC-Wilmington) and Greyson Way (UNC-Greensboro) on the list of Raiders who are expecting to play at the next level.
He’ll be taking his talents to UNC Pembroke, as he disclosed on Twitter early Sunday evening.
“Proud to announce that I will be furthering my baseball career at UNCP. Thanks to everyone that has helped me get here. #GoBraves,” he wrote in the tweet.
Lee received interest from a couple other schools but ultimately decided to attend UNCP, saying its coaching staff played a big part in his decision. He’ll also get a chance to join former Raider Ethan Baucom — a 2017 NCCSIA All-State and Second Team All-PBC selection — in Pembroke.
The rising senior, who currently pitches and plays in the outfield, says he’s going to remain a two-way player once he enters UNCP’s program.
“I just want to have a good freshman year and stay healthy,” Lee said.
Prior to his verbal commitment, Lee led the school’s summer team, Richmond Rattlers, to a Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League championship. He helped the Rattlers finish 14-1 in the regular season, earned seven strikeouts on the mound in the tournament semifinal and then recorded two hits and two RBI in the championship.
The future Brave called the summer run “a good bonding time,” crediting the team’s ability to come together as a unit in order to accomplish the main goal: winning.
“It just felt like the chemistry was there,” Lee added.
Winning the CCSSL title was a great way for Lee and his teammates to counter the school team’s disappointing season in the spring, where he recorded 19 RBI and a team-high two homers in 26 games played, according to MaxPreps.
One of his two home runs came in Richmond’s first meeting with Scotland in April, when he blasted a solo homer to lead off the second inning. He would also record an RBI later that game before coming in as the relief on the mound, striking out five batters and giving up no hits in a 7-3 victory over the Raiders’ conference rival.
Lee also had a strong showing on the mound against Pinecrest in the conference tournament, as he only allowed one run on four hits and earned 10 strikeouts in spite of a 1-0 defeat.
As he heads into his senior season, Lee says he’s focused on being a good role model who sets examples for the younger guys in the classroom, the weight room and on the diamond.
Around this time next year, however, he’ll be looking for UNCP’s upperclassmen to set those same kinds of examples for him as he gets acclimated to a new environment — which isn’t too far home.
“It’ll be nice to stay close to family, get a good education from a good school and play baseball,” Lee said.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.
Richmond’s Jonathan Lee (4) verbally committed to UNC-Pembroke on Sunday. The rising senior made his decision two weeks after his visit, saying the coaching staff played a big part in the outcome. As he approaches his final year in a Raider uniform, Lee is looking to build on the success of the school’s summer team that won the CCSSL championship last month.